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From: (Tom Jackson)
Subject: Cyrogenic string treatment (LONG)
Date: 27 Oct 1995 11:14:28 GMT

____________ Kaman press info follows _____________________


Cryogenics, the science of treating materials by exposing them to extremely
low temperatures, is not new.  The process was first applied as a
metallurgical treatment by a machine tool company in Michigan.  The theory at
that time was that by cryogenically treating tool steel, the stresses
inherent in the metal would be relieved.  This would reduce wear and extend
the life of machine tools.  The process was found to increase the life of the
tool by two to five times.

In 1985, a company in Massachusetts that specialized in cryogenics treated a
set of piano strings for a friend of their Vice-President as a kind of
experiment.  Since the piano was played every day, it provided an excellent
opportunity for testing the process.

The cryogenically-treated strings were installed in the piano and the
technicians in the  company moved on to other projects, completely forgetting
about the Vice-President's friend.  After about 2-1/2 years the owner of the
piano contacted the company and informed them that the piano had not required
tuning during the entire period, while normally it would require tuning every
six months!  This was the beginning of cryogenically-treated musical strings.

What is the cryogenic process, and what are its effects?  For KAMAN Musical
Strings, the process begins with the strings at room temperature,
approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade).  The strings are
in the freezer plenum and submerged in liquid nitrogen over an eight hour
period, until their temperature reaches -318 degrees Fahrenheit
(approximately -190 degrees Centigrade).  The temperature is held at this
level for 15 hours to complete the freezing process.  Then, over the next
15 hour period, the strings are returned to room temperature.  From start
to finish the entire treatment takes 38 hours.

The result of this process is a change in the crystalline structure of the
metal, which reduces residual stress created in the manufacturing of the wire
and the string.  For a musician this means the string is more stable and does
not experience as great a degree of change in its overall tension as it is
stretched during tuning and playing.  This helps the string hold its pitch. 
Also, as a string is repeatedly stretched during tuning and playing, it tends
to lose its elasticity, which is so important in creating good tone.  If too
much elasticity is lost, "dead" sounding strings result.  The stability
induced by cryogenic treatment can actually increase the life of the string
by reducing the amount of stretching during normal use, thus preserving its

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