Vacuum Heat Treatment for 3D Printing: The Ultimate Guide
by aifurnaces
Jun 14, 2022

Forced Air Oven vs. Vacuum Oven: What’s the Difference?

You can use drying ovens for numerous industrial and research applications. These include sterilizing, annealing, polyimide baking, and die-bond curing. If you’re planning to get one for your lab or workplace, you have various options. Two of the most widely used are vacuum ovens and forced air ovens.

Vacuum drying ovens use dry air to remove humidity. They’re primarily used to dry tiny parts or eliminate flammable solvents. On the other hand, forced air drying ovens drive and circulate the hot air in the chamber using a built-in fan inside the oven’s wall. The forced air drying system can achieve rapid heat recovery and temperature uniformity. 

As a lab owner, you must understand the similarities and differences between the two types to know if your lab will only need either one or both. While the two ovens are different, no machine is better than the other. Each has its own strengths and applications. 

Vacuum and Forced Air Oven: Similarities

Compared to a gravity convection oven, vacuum and forced air ovens can dry materials faster. A vacuum oven can greatly reduce the boiling point of a liquid. You can apply it to thermosensitive substances and powder samples to shorten the drying time effectively. In particular, forced air ovens have a blower fan to move air around inside the heating chamber, which helps speed up drying time.

Moreover, you can use both ovens for disinfection, drying, and baking applications. They play an important role in industries like environmental protection, biochemistry, medical and health, and chemical-pharmaceutical. 

Vacuum vs. Forced Air Oven: Differences

The main difference between a vacuum drying and forced air drying oven is their distinct drying methods. In a forced air oven, the hot air constantly circulates in the chamber because of the motorized fan. Thus, the sample is steadily in contact with heat, speeding up the drying process. 

Meanwhile, vacuum drying is best used for heat-sensitive materials like food and certain chemicals. The targeted supply of pressure control and heat optimize the drying process, promoting capillary transport in materials like concrete and mortar. A vacuum oven removes air, moisture, and gas from the chamber, preventing potential unstable factors from reacting with the sample. 

Since the two ovens use different drying methods, they have various advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Vacuum Ovens

Determine if a vacuum oven is the best choice for your workplace by going through its advantages:

  1. Handles thermosensitive substances and samples well: You can treat substances that aren’t easy to dry, like powders and other granular materials. The oven can eliminate the possibility of the thermal explosion of oxides because the materials are under inert or vacuum conditions.
  1. Reduces the boiling point of substances: The environment of a vacuum oven lowers pressure, allowing certain liquids to evaporate at lower temperatures. This type of oven also dries thermosensitive substances at a faster rate. If your sample is heat-sensitive, you can depend on vacuum drying not to mess up your process and materials. 
  1. Cleans complicated mechanical parts and other rough materials thoroughly: A vacuum drying oven is best for complex samples since the machine operates in a way that reduces the risk of damage. It gently dries high-grade products by applying pressure to evaporate the water or solvents in the drying chamber. 

Advantages of Forced Air Ovens

Does a forced air oven sound like something your workplace needs? Learn more about its advantages below:

  1. Dries materials evenly: Like a furnace, the circulation system of forced air ovens provides rapid heat recovery, which allows the temperature inside the chamber to be uniformly distributed. The duct system handles the allocation of warm air; thus, if your materials need to be heated or dried simultaneously, forced air ovens are the way to go. 
  1. Operates safely with perks like high production efficiency, reliability, low energy consumption, and low cost: Forced air ovens are generally more affordable than vacuum ovens. There are also digital forced air ovens, which can be simpler than analog machines. They offer next-level quality and convenience alongside fast heating and short drying times. 

Meet Your Laboratory Needs

Laboratory ovens are essential for scientific and manufacturing purposes, especially if the tasks require drying, baking, or curing. However, before you purchase a drying oven, you should evaluate your processes and samples. By doing this, you can determine the type that suits your needs best. Will you need a forced air oven, or is a vacuum oven better? Maybe you need both?

For your vacuum ovens and forced air ovens needs, check out AI Furnaces. With over 30 years of experience in Thermal Engineering, AI Furnaces is the industry leader in heat treatment and laboratory equipment such as lab furnaces and ovens. Our machines can handle temperatures ranging from 30°C to 2,000°C, focusing on vacuum and special atmosphere technology.

Call us today at 888-799-9212 for inquiries about our drying ovens, or fill out our contact form and our tech specialist will get in touch with you.


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