The Kurt J Lesker Company® is now manufacturing Aluminum chambers for high and ultra high vacuum applications in house.
Chambers can be manufactured from 5000 and 6000 Series Aluminum.
Aluminum is an excellent vacuum chamber material and if design considerations are taken into account, it can not only be used in place of stainless steel but may actually be the superior material for many applications
Aluminum is used in a variety of applications, where its magnetic permeability, thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance, reduced weight and rapid decay of induced radioactivity make it the material of choice
Reduced magnetic permeability. Aluminum is much harder to induce a magnetic field in than stainless steel, making it suitable for applications where charged particles and magnets are required
Ease of machining
Reduced weight makes it easier to handle in manufacturing and in weight critical applications
Lower residual radioactivity than flanges manufactured from ferrous materials, making it a good choice for high energy physics applications
Aluminum has less hydrogen permeation than stainless steel. This reduces the levels of H2, H2O, & hydrocarbon vapor that can be present in a system that is under vacuum
Aluminum also has less carbon than stainless steel. This results in reduced levels of carbon based gas (CO, CO2) present in the chamber
Aluminum forms a dense oxide layer that serves as a barrier, thereby reducing diffusion and desorption of contaminates such as Hydrogen, Oxygen & Carbon
Lower temperature cycling requirements for UHV. Aluminum's thermal conductivity advantage over stainless steel allows rapid and more uniform bakeout for vacuum chambers. Added to the reduced amounts of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon that can outgas from the walls of the chamber that allows Aluminum chambers to be baked to only 150°C to get UHV pressures
The reduced temperature requirements for UHV give greater flexibility when choosing seals. KJLC offers a variety of sealing techniques on Aluminum chambers