Kovar Alloy CNC Machining Services

Kovar alloy is a controlled expansion metal, nickel-cobalt ferrous alloy ideal for precision parts in aerospace and electronics.

kovar alloy cnc machining

What is Kovar Alloy?

Kovar alloy, also known as ASTM F15, is a nickel-cobalt-iron alloy with unique expansion characteristics that closely resemble those of borosilicate glass and ceramics during controlled cooling. This property makes it ideal for making seals between metal and glass components. Typically, Kovar consists of approximately 29% nickel, 17% cobalt, and the remainder iron, along with trace amounts of other elements to enhance its performance.

With a stable coefficient of thermal expansion over the -80°F to 450°F temperature range, Kovar is used in a wide range of applications where reliability and stability are critical, especially in sensitive electronic and aerospace components. It also has good mechanical properties and can be efficiently machined using CNC technology, making it a versatile material for precision manufacturing.

Percent by Weight
Role in Alloy
Nickel (Ni)
Controls thermal expansion, enhances corrosion resistance
Cobalt (Co)
Stabilizes expansion characteristics, adds strength
Iron (Fe)
Remainder (~54%)
Provides the matrix for the alloy, affects magnetic properties
Manganese (Mn)
Improves strength and toughness
Silicon (Si)
Enhances melting properties, deoxidizes iron
Carbon (C)
Controls grain structure, adds strength

Advantages of using Kovar Alloy in manufacturing

These advantages of Kovar make it highly favorable for applications where reliability, longevity, and precision are vital, such as in vacuum-tube envelopes, microwave tubes, x-ray tubes, and other types of sealed devices.

matching thermal expansion

Matching Thermal Expansion

Kovar's expansion rate aligns with borosilicate glass/ceramics, preventing seal damage during temperature changes, critical for maintaining integrity in varied thermal environments.

dimensional stability

Dimensional Stability

Unerring dimensional stability ensures precision for sensitive components in industries like optics and semiconductors, where even slight alterations affect performance.

low magnetic interference

Low Magnetic Interference

With controlled magnetic permeability, Kovar is optimal for electronic and medical devices that require minimal magnetic disturbance for proper functionality.

superior machinability

Superior Machinability

Kovar's excellent machinability facilitates the production of tight-tolerance, complex geometries essential for high-precision technological applications.

strong corrosion resistance

Strong Corrosion Resistance

Offering significant corrosion and oxidation resistance, Kovar ensures long-term durability for components operating in harsh or corrosive environments.

reliable sealing

Reliable Sealing

Kovar's capacity to create hermetic seals with glass/ceramics is invaluable for protecting electronics from environmental factors that can cause failure.

Applications of Kovar Alloy in Industries

Glass-to-Metal Seals: Kovar is widely used in creating hermetic seals between metal and glass, crucial for electronic components that require airtight enclosures to function reliably.

Electronics Packaging: Kovar’s thermal expansion compatibility makes it ideal for electronics packaging, ensuring protection against environmental stresses and maintaining the integrity of electronic assemblies.

Aerospace Components: In aerospace, Kovar’s stable properties under temperature fluctuations are vital for components that experience extreme atmospheric conditions, ensuring operational reliability.

Telecommunications: Kovar is used in telecommunications hardware where signal integrity is paramount, providing effective shielding and maintaining connections across a range of temperatures.

Medical Devices: Due to its nonmagnetic and corrosion-resistant nature, Kovar is employed in medical devices, such as implants and imaging equipment, to ensure patient safety and device longevity.

Scientific Instruments: Instruments that require precise measurements often use Kovar to mitigate any potential disruption caused by thermal expansion, preserving accuracy across varying temperatures.

Challenges in Kovar Alloy CNC Machining

Thermal Management: Kovar alloy’s propensity to dissipate heat slowly poses a challenge for CNC machining, potentially leading to thermal buildup. Effective cooling strategies are crucial to prevent tool wear and ensure dimensional accuracy.
Material Work-Hardening: Kovar tends to work-harden during the machining process, which can make continuous cutting operations difficult and is likely to result in reduced tool life and potential issues with achieving fine tolerances.
Precision Control: Achieving the high precision required for components made from Kovar alloy demands meticulous control over machining processes, including tool selection and cutting parameters, to maintain the tight tolerances necessary for its common applications.

AT CNC Machining Capabilities for Kovar Alloy

AT-Machining offers precision-engineered solutions tailored to extreme environments with advanced technology, unmatched expertise and best-in-class material handling capabilities.

precision and accuracy

Precision Machining

AT offers high-precision CNC services, maintaining tight tolerances ranging from +/-0.001" to 0.005" essential for Kovar's stability in sensitive applications.

5 axis cnc machining

Complex Geometries Handling

Expertise in crafting intricate designs with multi-axis CNC machines for complex Kovar alloy component manufacturing.

thermal management expertise

Thermal Management Expertise

Specialized cooling techniques employed to manage Kovar's low thermal conductivity, ensuring material integrity during machining.

material specific tooling

Material-Specific Tooling

Utilizes custom tools designed for machining Kovar, reducing work-hardening issues and improving tool longevity and surface quality.

FAQs about Kovar Alloy CNC Machining

Kovar is a controlled expansion alloy that matches the thermal expansion rate of glass and ceramic, ideal for hermetic seals.

Aerospace, electronics, optoelectronics, and the medical industry often require precision Kovar parts for critical applications.

Yes, AT employs advanced cooling strategies to manage heat during machining, ensuring the quality of the Kovar components.

AT’s CNC machining can hold very tight tolerances, essential for the precise applications Kovar is used in.

Yes, we offer prototyping services to help design and refine parts before full production, ensuring perfect component fit.

Get your parts into production today!