Beware of Cryogenic Tube Treatment?
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eric343

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There's a much bigger article to come, complete with photos...

I recently cryogenically treated a Sovtek ECC83 tube (of which I have two) by sticking it in a styrofoam insulated box for about 15 minutes; the bottom of the box had been covered in liquid nitrogen. I dropped in the tube in an aluminum mesh bag-like thing (to keep the pieces together in case it shattered) and closed the lid, then waited until the LN2 had boiled off.

I then marked the bottom of the tube with a red permanent marker.

The results? While the other Sovtek has a lot more use (judging by the silver deposits on the glass), the other one has a lot more life - it's still a Sterile Sovtek, but the bass is deeper and meatier, and the midrange is more magical. There also might be less distortion...

(of course, I gave the treated Sovtek about an hour to warm up vs. 5 minutes for the non-treated tube)

More to come once my webserver is up.
 
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aeberbach

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Just what is it supposed to do? The only change I can imagine from freezing like that is that any knock or bump while at those temperatures would be likely to damage the finer wires.

Has there ever been any scientific basis for "cryogenic treatment" improving any characteristic of tubes or wires, or is it just anecdotal? I know that conductivity improves at lower temperatures, but a permanent change from a temporary temeperature drop?
 
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braillediver

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Real cryogenic treatments involve slowly lowering the temperature, soaking for some period of time at the desired temperature then slowly bringing the temperature back up. The time, temperature and rate of change of each step is very precise. It might also involve multiple treatments. It’s a science if not an art.

What eric343 did was the equivalent of looking out the window and verifying the world is flat based on his observations.

His tubes never reached the temperature of liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen was boiling off as he did it.

I believe the treatments have something to do with relieving stress in the crystal structures. I’m sure there is a ton of information on the net. Rifle barrels cryogenically treated are more accurate.

My disclaimer is that I don’t advocate or dismiss cryogenic treatments just that his experiment was fatally flawed and cannot be used as a basis for evaluating the treatment.
 
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eric343

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Of course it's fatally flawed... I'd love more information on DIY cryo treatment if you have it; however I did the best I could with the equipment and time that I had.
 
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grinch

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Quote:

Originally posted by eric343
however I did the best I could with the equipment and time that I had.


i agree. cryogenic freezing equipment and know-how aren't sold at walmart. i'm ****ing impressed he got liquid nitrogen at all heh. this is a very interesting subject to me, even if i have no idea what it would do to help sound.

eric: maybe if you get into this, you can sell cryo-frozen interconnects and make a nice bundle.
 
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braillediver

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I worked with liquid nitrogen extensively at another company. It was used with vacuum pumps to remove contaminants.

Sure nice effort. Next time try an enclosure like Styrofoam within an enclosure to insulate the inside compartment. The liquid nitrogen might last longer. A block of Styrofoam as thick as possible with a cavity for the immersion of the tube with a lid placed inside another Styrofoam enclosure with a lid. Put dry ice or liquid nitrogen in the outside enclosure. So there is layered insulation. I think Larry’s market sells dry ice but the liquid nitrogen is much colder.

And please be careful. It can burn you bad. They use it to burn off warts.
 
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eric343

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grinch: IIRC LN2 is like $20/liter from the local gas supply company; I'll have to ask my supplier...


Braillediver: Unfortunately I don't have a source for all that styrofoam... I've got lots of bubble wrap though
(and I do know about the dangers of ln2, don't worry.)
 
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andrzejpw

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I've been meaning to try this, but alas, I have no tube equipment. . .

I do have access to plenty of liquid nitrogen though. . . mmmm. . . 16 year olds with nitrogen. Lovely.
 
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Cool experiment, Eric. (oops, bad pun).
 
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eric343

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Plenty of liquid nitrogen, eh? How?

My access is limited to what I can convince my mom to bring home from work (she's a doctor and uses it to freeze off warts)...
 
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millerdog

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eric, check out a seafood company, they pack in styrofoam. It may not smell nice, buy hey they'll probably give it away.
Scientific method not withstanding, at least you are trying. I wonder if they got some of that stuff at school? Hmmmm...
md
 
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The university makes it's own liquid nitrogen. I do Physics Van which is a bunch of college kids going around to different elementary schools and give presentations about basic laws of physics. Needless to say, while they no longer trust me with fire, I still get to play with LN2 and we go through that stuff like water. I think it only costs the university around 32 cents or so to make a liter of it.

By the way, what's with this wussy LN2? C'mon, liquid hydrogen is the way to go!
 
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eric343

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Nahh, I'll take liquid helium or liquid oxygen over liquid hydrogen. (the first 'cause it's colder, the second because you can load it in old C02 cartridges, get some silicon tubing, and turn your Estes rocket into a torpedo)
 
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andrzejpw

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Quote:

Originally posted by Born2bwire
The university makes it's own liquid nitrogen. I do Physics Van which is a bunch of college kids going around to different elementary schools and give presentations about basic laws of physics. Needless to say, while they no longer trust me with fire, I still get to play with LN2 and we go through that stuff like water. I think it only costs the university around 32 cents or so to make a liter of it.

By the way, what's with this wussy LN2? C'mon, liquid hydrogen is the way to go!


That's basically how I have access to LN2. I'm a volunteer at the local science center, and I present Liquid Nitrogen as part of a cryogenics show. Good stuff!
 
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