Success Story - Electron Beam Welding of Long Stainless Steel Vacuum Chamber Part for Nuclear Physics Lab

Posted by Chris Kielb on Dec 24, 2021 5:15:00 AM

A Virginia nuclear physics laboratory asked us to improve the quality of welds in vacuum chambers used in its’ research equipment. The client was seeking a way to minimize excess heat input, distortion, and variation in magnetic properties that result from conventional fusion welding.

We consulted with the customer to design an electron beam-specific weld joint that optimized virtual leak performance at ultra-high vacuum. The welding process was developed, and the performance of the design was validated by using sample coupons provided by the customer. 

We fabricated clamping fixtures to secure the parts for welding using its internal machining capabilities. Electron beam welding of the 316L Stainless Steel component satisfied the full penetration requirement of .135”. The overall dimensions of the part were 126" long, 5.7" tall, and 1.0” wide.

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Electron Beam Welding for Nuclear ServiceElectron Beam Welding for Nuclear Physics Lab

Electron Beam Welding of Long Stainless Steel Vacuum Chamber Part Project Highlights

Product Name: Vacuum Chamber

Product Description:

This assembly is a vacuum chamber used in a particle accelerator laboratory. We electron beam welded 4 plates together to form a box section.

Capabilities Applied/Processes:

Weld Joint Design Consultation

  • We proposed a joint configuration concept, and suggested dimensions that would optimize "virtual leak" performance at high vacuum.

Custom Tooling:

  • An existing base plate was modified for adaptation to the customer part.
  • Custom clamps fabricated to mate with customer part geometry.

Electron Beam Welding:

  • Large-sized chamber capacity utilized.
  • CNC motion used to track non-linear weld joint

Overall Dimensions:

Part Dimensions:

Length: 126"

Width: 1.0"

Height: 5.7"

Weld Dimensions:

Joint Thickness: .135"

Weld Penetration Depth: .135" (100%)

Material Used:

316L Stainless Steel

Industry for Use:

Nuclear Physics

Delivery Location:


Standards Met:

Customer supplied specifications


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