Performance and Reliability
CT Associates, Inc. has developed a broad range of in-house tests as an offshoot of our R&D efforts, some of which have been adopted by industry to benchmark various fluid handling equipment. Fittings, tubing, pumps, valves, flow controllers, and filtration are all being held to increasingly high standards, and we can put them to the test. Our testing services can be used to supplement your R&D or for third party certification.
Typical tests are performed in water, ethylene glycol, or CMP slurry mixtures. In addition, we have the equipment and facilities to handle most aggressive acids and bases used in semi-conductor processing such as hydrochloric, hydrofluoric, sulfuric, and phosphoric acids, as well as ammonium hydroxide and dissolved and gaseous ozone.
Valves and Fittings
Of the components listed above, valves and fittings are likely the most integral components in a fluid handling systems, so their performance and reliability need to be well understood.
For valves, the true test of reliability is accelerated cycling in either CMP slurry or hydrochloric/hydrofluoric acids. Over the course of millions of cycles, seal integrity, actuator reliability, and resistance to chemical permeation can be evaluated. Shown here are some example results of seat leak integrity for a set of valves cycled in CMP slurry.
Internal Leak Integrity of Valves Cycled in CMP Slurry
For fittings, seal integrity at wide ranges of temperatures and pressures are the obvious requirement, but their entrapment, or lack thereof, is becoming increasingly important. In the instance of a contamination event in an ultrapure fluid handling system, the use of a fitting that cleans up faster means that the whole system can return to operation sooner, saving precious time, money, and process fluids. Shown here are results from a chemical entrapment test, where triplicate fitting assemblies are exposed to sulfuric acid, then rinsed with ultrapure water while the outgoing resistivity is recorded. The format here plots the delta from the system baseline resistivity of 18.18 MΩ·cm in log-scale to show the recovery in higher detail.
Entrapment Rinse Testing by Resistivity Recovery
Reliability testing under typical or aggressive use conditions
Accelerated life tests
Flow control and measurement evaluations
On-line instrument validation
Measurement of gas or liquid permeation through polymers
Chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP) slurry characterization