Solar Atmospheres donates Mentor Furnace to Lehigh University
Solar Atmospheres

Solar Atmospheres donates Mentor Furnace to Lehigh University

The equipment that will allow experiments around metallurgy teaching and research, especially around additive manufacturing (AM).

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Solar Atmospheres, in conjunction with the William and Myrtle Jones Foundation, has donated and installed a laboratory furnace for Lehigh University’s Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. The furnace, The Mentor, was designed and built by Solar Manufacturing. With SolarVac Polaris control system, a hot zone capable of holding up to 250 lb, and a maximum temperature of 2,800°F, the furnace was installed by Solar in Lehigh University’s Whitaker Lab, along with the necessary Solar-built transformer and water cooling system, specifically designed for the installation.

“This is a very powerful, advanced piece of equipment that will allow us to conduct important experiments in our metallurgy teaching and research, especially around additive manufacturing,” explains Wojciech Misiolek, professor and chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University.

After a tour of Lehigh University in early 2019, Solar founder and CEO William R. Jones was struck by an idea to benefit Lehigh, their students, and Solar. “Bill was thoroughly impressed during his tour of the metallurgical labs,” says Tim Steber, regional sales manager for Solar Atmospheres. “He saw an opportunity to advance Lehigh’s capabilities and launch them into another area.”

“The need for a pre-production size vacuum furnace for heat treating of additive manufactured printed parts and other metallurgical heat treating became apparent for Lehigh University and their teaching and experimental research,” Jones states. “As a result, Solar Atmospheres Inc. has donated a Mentor vacuum furnace to Lehigh University.”