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Why Invar is Used When Making Clock Pendulums – 5 Uses of Invar

Invar is a nickel-iron, low expansion alloy and is commonly used in applications that require high dimensional stability. As it is able to maintain almost constant dimensions between temperatures of -100°C & 260°C, it is utilised in a variety of industries. Today we’ve put together a few examples of uses of invar.

Some uses of Invar include:

1. Clock Pendulums

Clock pendulums were one of the first uses of Invar due to its near zero coefficient linear thermal expansion enabling accurate timekeeping. When the clock pendulum was first invented, accuracy was compromised due to the varying temperatures throughout the seasons. However, by using Invar, the length of the pendulum didn’t change and therefore the time was always correct.

2. Optical Engineering & Precision Instruments

The high dimensional stability and low coefficient thermal expansion is also beneficial for a number of optical engineering and precision instruments. For lasers, thermostats and waveguide tubes, heat is a considerable factor during use so Invar’s ability to maintain its dimensions and structure is essential. Invar is also incredibly durable which is perfect for precision instruments such as, measuring and positioning devices, and a variety of scientific instruments like microscopes and telescopes.

3. Large Aerostructure Moulds

The modern generation of aircrafts require Invar for large composite material structures and moulds. This alloy keeps tight dimensional tolerances whilst advanced components are used at moderately high temperatures. Invar is also a vital material for the future of aerospace engineering as the evolution of technology is leading to orbit satellites, ring laser gyroscopes and other high-tech applications.

Although more costly than, for example, moulds made from stainless steels, Invar is becoming the first-choice alloy for mould tooling. Its moulds or tools offer far better stability and have a much greater life expectancy, making it a more cost-effective solution on high production demands. In today’s quality-focused world, Invar’s CTEs offer a far better dimensional tolerances for a finished part which is often critical in the aerospace or high-tech markets and applications.

4. Transportation of Liquid Natural Gas

With the ability to minimise cryogenic shrinkage, Invar has been used in the construction of containers to transport liquid natural gas. With its near zero coefficient linear thermal expansion, Invar can provide the significant insulation that is needed to keep it in its liquid form.

As you can see, Invar’s low coefficient of thermal expansion and guaranteed dimensional stability has made it one of the most common and desirable materials for many industries. At City Special Metals, Invar 36 is one of our signature specialist alloys; with a unique range of Invar Stock and over 20 years’ experience, we will be able to help and advise you as to whether it would be right for your application.

To learn more about Invar, visit our Invar 36 product page or talk to one of our experts by contacting us.