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The new zirconia thermocouple protection tubes offer corrosion and chemical resistance at higher temperatures than can be achieved with alumina tubes. Processes that use inert atmosphere and graphite result in reduced oxygen in the alumina tubes, causing their early failure. The oxygen molecules in the zirconia will also be reduced in this environment, but at a much slower rate. The material can be used in directional solidification system furnaces, where temperatures are about 1600°C and the thermocouple tubes are sitting in a graphite bed.
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