Formed from the amalgamation of the two words “Cryo”: Cold and “Stat”: Stable, the cryostat is basically an equipment used to maintain substances at very low temperatures. It is an essential tool in cryogenics, a branch of physics that deals with the production and effects of very low temperature on materials. It may be noted here, that very low temperature here can typically mean less than -180 degree Celsius.
A cryogen is a material used to produce the low temperatures that are used in cryostats and cryogenic liquids are usually those that have a boiling point of less than -90 degree Celsius. Liquid nitrogen and Liquid Helium are among the most used cryogens today.
Cryostats can be of various types depending on their purpose and method of cooling. 4 main types of cryostats are as follows:
1. Closed cycle type: These cryostats repeatedly refrigerate the cryogen and hence reuse the same cryogen. However, they consume much power to maintain the temperature of the cryogen.
2. Continuous flow type: In this type of cryostats, a constant supply of the cryogen is maintained to cool the sample and the cryogen is continually replenished. This involves large quantities of the cryogen used.
3. Bath type: The bath type cryostat is like a vacuum flask that has a cold plate which remains in contact with a bath containing a sufficient amount of the cryogen. Various shields are then used to insulate the unit from room temperature.
4. Multistage cryostats: This cryostat essentially has a cold plate that has internal tubes that serve for the passage of coolant which absorbs the heat transferred to the plate. It can also have multiple consequent stages.
Cryostats are used in the fields of medicine, engineering, and research and one of their principal uses come from the fact that they are used in keeping superconducting magnets cool.
Superconductivity is the property of certain substances to offer zero resistance to the flow of electricity at subzero temperatures. Some of the uses of superconducting magnets are in MRI Scanners to improve the quality of imaging and in railways where maglev trains can be used to provide faster and more advanced trains. Cryostats are used to provide the low temperatures that bring about superconductivity.
The performance of a cryostat can depend on the power required to cool the cryogen or to provide the increase or decrease in temperature when necessary. External vibrations can become an indirect source of heating up, that can, in turn, be a cause for concern in cryostats. We can provide you with the vibration-free surfaces that will improve the performance of your cryostats.
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