In a dip forming process the core material to be coated is introduced directly into a source block of coating material eliminating the need for a bushing entrance component. The process containment vessel or crucible is heated so that only a portion of the coating material becomes molten, leaving a solid portion of material as the entrance port of, and seal around, the core material. The crucible can contain molten and solid metals and is especially useful when coating core material with reactive metals. The source block of coating material has been machined to include a close tolerance hole of a size and shape to closely fit the core material. The core material moves first through the solid portion of the source block of coating material where the close tolerance hole has been machined, then through a solid/molten interface, and finally through the molten phase where the diameter of the core material is increased. The crucible may or may not require water-cooling depending upon the type of material used in crucible construction. The system may operate under vacuum, partial vacuum, atmospheric pressure, or positive pressure depending upon the type of source material being used.
U.S. GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
The United States government has rights in this invention pursuant to the employer-employee relationship of the Government to the inventors as U.S. Department of Energy employees at the Albany Research Center.