Tube Furnaces in Materials Research: A Guide to Industries & Applications

Tube furnaces give materials researchers a controlled environment for high-heat synthesis, processing, and testing.

From semiconductor manufacturers to academic labs, furnaces like ours have been integral to discoveries across industries.

Below are some of the most exciting areas in which researchers (including real-world SH customers) are pushing the boundaries of materials science.

Semiconductor Industry

Silicon Doping

Pure silicon is seldom optimal for semiconductors.

It usually benefits from “doping”: the deliberate introduction of impurities (often in gas form) that affects its electrical properties. The silicon wafer is heated in a tube furnace at high temperatures, and dopant gases such as phosphine (PH3) or boron trifluoride (BF3) are introduced.


In other cases, the goal of heat treatment is not conduction, but electrical insulation.

For instance, silicon dioxide (SiO2) is a common insulator in semiconductor devices. It forms naturally when wafers are heated inside a tube furnace under controlled exposure to oxygen (as opposed to the vacuum or inert-gas environment used for other processes).

Silicon Wafer
Silicon Wafer

How does SH Scientific help?

As wafers start to exceed 6″ in diameter, it’s difficult to find a cost-effective tube furnace. We’ve introduced a large-diameter tube furnace for wafers up to 10″ wide—and at a price that doesn’t require the resources of an industry behemoth.

Advanced Materials Industry

Graphene Synthesis

Tube furnaces facilitate advanced materials like graphene, which may represent the future of battery technology.

One key process is chemical vapor deposition (CVD), in which a tube furnace heats a metal substrate to high temperatures in a methane or hydrogen atmosphere, promoting the formation of graphene on the substrate.

Ceramic Processing

Ceramics generally begin as a resin, which contains polymers that don’t belong in the final product.

Tube furnaces allow high-temperature sintering, which removes that polymer matrix and leaves only a purer, stronger silica ceramic part.

How does SH Scientific help?

For battery research and ceramic sintering, our tube furnaces provide total atmospheric control even at extreme temperatures.

Energy Industry

Solar Cell Research

Like other forms of energy transfer, photovoltaic behavior changes following heat treatment. That’s why tube furnaces play a crucial role in fabricating and testing solar cells.

For instance, some customers use them to process layers of cadmium telluride (CdTe) cells. Certain thermal treatment protocols enhance their photovoltaic properties, resulting in a more efficient solar product.

Battery Material Research

Besides graphene production (as mentioned above), tube furnaces also help produce several other battery materials, especially those used in cathodes.

How does SH Scientific help?

Our furnaces see daily use among energy researchers, some of whom are developing cutting-edge cathode recycling and ceramic electrolyte techniques.

Aerospace Industry

Heat Treatment of Aerospace Alloys

Aerospace applications place alloys under extreme structural demands.

Tube-furnace treatments (like annealing and tempering) improve their strength, ductility, and toughness to meet extraordinary performance standards.

Ceramic Matrix Composites

Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are exceptionally heat-resistant and mechanically resilient.

After heat treatment, CMCs are excellent heat shields for jet engines and spacecraft, where conventional ceramics are likely to crack under mechanical stress.

How does SH Scientific help?

Aerospace researchers and manufacturers trust our tube furnaces to treat alloys like titanium and high-strength steel, and to refine CMCs into safe, high-performance finished products.

Automotive Industry

Battery Materials Production

Amid a booming electric vehicle (EV) market, the US is striving for a more resilient and independent automotive supply chain.

Tube furnaces are essential for lithium-ion cathode and anode production, so battery makers are rapidly expanding their heat treatment capacity.

Exhaust Catalyst Production

Tube furnaces have an oft-overlooked place in conventional vehicle production, too.

Catalytic converters, which reduce harmful emissions, require thermal treatment of precious metals under tightly controlled conditions. With costly metals (like platinum, palladium, and rhodium) and strict regulation, absolute consistency is a must.

How does SH Scientific help?

Our tube furnaces provide world-class atmospheric control and temperature uniformity—two key ingredients for safe, efficient, and compliant EV batteries and catalysts.

Biomedical Industry

Bioactive Glass Production

Tube furnaces help refine bioactive glasses, an extraordinary class of materials with the potential to repair damaged bone.

Like other silicate-based substances, most bioactive glasses require sintering and/or annealing to reach a stable and useful state.

Bioceramic Processing

Bioceramics, such as hydroxyapatite or bioglass ceramics, are a cornerstone of modern medical and dental implants.

These bone-like materials are often 3D-printed, then heat-treated in a tube furnace to reduce brittleness and porosity.

How does SH Scientific help?

Our tube furnaces for medical and dental labs offer precise performance day in and day out, so technicians and researchers can focus on what they do best.

Chemical Industry

Zeolite Synthesis

Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals that are widely used as catalysts in the petrochemical industry.

Under heat treatment in a tube furnace, zeolite components (primarily a silica–alumina–alkali metal gel) develop a unique crystalline structure that functions as a “molecular sieve.”

Carbon Nanotube Production

Carbon nanotubes display exceptional strength as well as thermal and electrical conductivity, all of which can be modified through chemical and thermal processes.

They’re often sintered or annealed in a tube furnace, which offers precise control over the structure, density, and so forth.

How does SH Scientific help?

With exceptionally uniform heating and gas management, our tube furnaces provide complete control for the smallest of samples.

Electronics Industry

Production of Capacitors

Tube furnaces are an important tool for capacitor production. Specifically, they assist in the processing of dielectric materials that separate a capacitor’s conducting plates.

Soldering Material Production

The electronics industry also uses tube furnaces to produce soldering materials. These alloys typically consist of tin with lead or silver, all melted and mixed in tube furnaces.

How does SH Scientific help?

Sophisticated digital controls give SH furnaces precise ramping and controlled cooling at a wide range of temperatures. Dedicated vacuum and vent ports also facilitate gas management and fume evacuation.


From vehicles to spacecraft to implants in our own bodies, materials science makes life as we know it possible. And behind every marketable advance in materials is a consistent heat treatment process.

That’s why SH Scientific tube furnaces are an invaluable tool for dozens of leading researchers and advanced manufacturers.

When you choose SH, you’re choosing:

  • A device built in Korea under our end-to-end control.
  • Industry-standard performance and reliability at an unsurpassed value.
  • US-based sales and support that’s here to help on your hours.
  • Access to essentially unlimited customization for every facet of your furnace.

To learn more, discuss details, or begin a custom quote, please reach out today.