Flame Fusion, what is it?

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Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by koimaster » December 21st 2009, 11:42am

from a thread awhile back.


The new buzz word in the land of wabbits. I ran across a thread about this at another forum. So what is it? According to the "inventors" it is a new cool process whch takes watchmaking to a whole new level.

NOT! they do not even have a patent on the process which is over 100 years old. Think buyes, think and research before buying.



The Verneuil process, also called flame fusion, was the first commercially successful method
of manufacturing synthetic gemstones, developed in 1902 by the French chemist Auguste Verneuil.
It is primarily used to produce the ruby and sapphire varieties of corundum, as well as the diamond
simulants rutile and strontium titanate.

The principle of the process involves melting a finely powdered substance using an
oxyhydrogen flame, and crystallising the melted droplets into a boule. The process is
considered to be the founding step of modern industrial crystal growth technology,
and remains in wide use to this day."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verneuil_process


flame fusion is copyrighted as a term.
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by SynMike » August 1st 2011, 9:46pm

Flame Fusion is a 100 year old process for making gems, Sapphire Crystals, and the Rubies in watch movements. Invicta has decided to use this term to mean something a bit different.

So what is Flame Fusion (other than Invicta's definition)? I read a bunch of articles but I'm certainly no expert. There is considerable information available about using Flame Fusion to make synthetic gem stones, but very little about watch crystals. But the processes for each are related. Anyway, here is a bit of what I found out:

Rubies and Sapphires are both varieties of Corundum. Both can be produced synthetically using Verneuil Process, also known as Flame Fusion, invented by French chemist Auguste Victor Louis Verneuil, in 1902. Higher quality gem stones are produced by other methods today but the more affordable Flame Fusion method is still used for watch movement rubies and sapphire crystals.

How Flame Fusion Works:

A column of Ruby or Sapphire (a "boule") can be manufactured in a Verneuil furnace. Powder size aluminum oxide particles are sprinkled down though a oxyhydrogen flame to melt at over 2000 degree Celsius. They fall onto a column where they crystalize just below the flame. This leads to the name Flame Fusion - particles fuse to each other as they fall below melting point and crystalize. The column of crystalizing material is slowly lowered away from the flame as it grows in height with more crystalizing particles fusing to the top of the column.

Here is an easy to understand movie that shows the process for Rubies:
http://www.theimage.com/newgems/synthetic/animation/verneulipProcessFinal.mov

Sapphire Crystals are made in much the same way, building a long cylinder that is sliced and polished.

The process is described in many articles online but this is a good one:
http://gemologyproject.com/wiki/index.php?title=Flame_fusion
History is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verneuil_process

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Some Interesting Points I Found in My Research:

"Nowadays, the production capacity of sapphire for watch windows and other applications is 250 tons (1.25 × 109 carats), the largest fraction from the (Swiss) Djevahirdjian factory with 2200 Verneuil furnaces, and this with the practically unchanged process."
The Development of Crystal Growth Technology
HANS J. SCHEEL
SCHEEL CONSULTING, CH-8808 Pfaeffikon SZ, Switzerland

"Watch "glasses" manufactured on the base of leucosapphire and light-colored sapphires are used by all well-known manufacturers of high-quality watches. This is not a fashion. You will see no scratches on such "glasses.""
Sapphire: Materials, Manufacturing, Applications
By Elena R. Dobrovinskaya, Leonid A. Lytvynov, Valerian Pishchik

The primary use for Verneuil-grown sapphire and ruby today is still for synthetic sapphire and ruby gemstones, watch jewels, watch windows, and the process is virtually unchanged from the original design.
http://www.sdmaterials.com/crystal_growth_technologies.html

There are other synthetic crystal producing processes that have been developed as alternatives to Flame Fusion. All probably owe some of their background principles to the original Flame Fusion method. Some produce higher quality precision crystals for use in optics and semiconductors.
http://www.jewelinfo4u.com/Synthetic_sapphires.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czochralski_process
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_synthesis
http://www.precisionsapphire.com/sapphire/index.shtml
http://www.rostox-n.ru/technologies.html

Watches don't need higher precision in more modern methods. Flame Fusion remains one of the most cost effective ways to produce rubies for watch movements and sapphire for crystals.
http://www.theimage.com/newgems/synthetic/animation/verneulipProcessFinal.movhttp://www.theimage.com/newgems/synthetic/animation/verneulipProcessFinal.mov
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by Seattle » August 2nd 2011, 6:28am

Interesting, yet I would not for a moment assume that IWG's "Flame Fusion" has any relation to the process described above.
In fact based on their history of deception, ineptness, poor workmanship and the lowest quality components, I would say that their FF is probably just a cheap piece of glass.
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by Hawk » August 2nd 2011, 8:22am

What flame fusion is not is synthetic sapphire made by the Verneuil process. Invicta has stated repeatedly that it's a mixture of mineral glass and sapphire fused through heating. This is how it's more scratch-resistant than mineral glass and more shatter-resistant than sapphire.

Logic would have us conclude that it is therefor likely that it also is more scratch prone than sapphire and more likely to shatter than mineral glass. The more egregious of their pimp network imply that only the good qualities remain of the mixture while the less desirable attributes sink to the bottom of the flame fusion tank to be whisked away by Swiss Faeries.

In other words it's a fusion of wishful thinking and the physically improbable. Sapphire is crystalline, glass is amorphous - they don't bond well at any level most especially the molecular level even if encouraged to do so by a flame.

Given the widespread pre-scrub reports of both scratching and shattering at WG it's possible that it actually does behave as they describe - except for the magic part. IMHO the far simpler conjecture is that it's simply everyday soda-lime glass with a pretentious name.
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by skooby » August 2nd 2011, 9:21am

I found it telling that IWG never offered a hardness number for FF. That, the online complaints of scratching, and the fact that the 2 Lupah's I purchased with FF crystals suck as far as clarity and optics go prove to me that FF is just a marketing gimmick for an inferior product (compared to sapphire).
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by TemerityB » August 2nd 2011, 9:41am

"Flame Fusion, what is it?"

Shit.

C'mon, give us something challenging!
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by Mark1 » August 2nd 2011, 4:11pm

RP wrote:It's time for someone with a failed Invicta to get the flame fusion crystal analyzed.

If it's simply cheap mineral crystal, Invicta should be charged with false advertising. Ditto that for Slop.


Sounds like a good idea. I would be interested to see what the FF hardness is compared to mineral and sapphire. Any idea who would be qualified to do this type of testing?
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by WatchDorks.Net » August 2nd 2011, 4:19pm

Flame Delusion is nothing more than Invicta's smokescreen to make their coated mineral crystals sound better than anyone else's coated mineral crystals.... their way of saying "but our knobs go to 11."
Proud "hater" since 2009. Get over it and have fun reassembling yer wartches.

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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by sandoz » August 3rd 2011, 3:31am

WatchDorks.Net wrote:Flame Delusion is nothing more than Invicta's smokescreen to make their coated mineral crystals sound better than anyone else's coated mineral crystals.... their way of saying "but our knobs go to 11."
Sounds plausible but with invicta the plausible can quickly morph into the ripoffible. I wouldnt be surprized if FF turned out to be something more cheaply made than others' coated crystals.
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by Falstaff » August 3rd 2011, 11:46am

I suspect they're coming out of the same Sagacious Panda No. 4 Guangzhou glass factory and that they are all exactly the same, whether Invicta Flame Fusion, Stuhrling Krysterna, Swiss Legend Sapphitek or even Croton's mysterious Spherulite (the Merm claims it means "strong" in German - it doesn't). Wonder why everybody else in the watchmaking biz manages to get by with either mineral or sapphire crystals except these yahoos?
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by RP » August 3rd 2011, 1:01pm

Falstaff wrote:I suspect they're coming out of the same Sagacious Panda No. 4 Guangzhou glass factory and that they are all exactly the same, whether Invicta Flame Fusion, Stuhrling Krysterna, Swiss Legend Sapphitek


No doubt blown on the Greek island of Lesbos.
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by Falstaff » August 3rd 2011, 1:22pm

RP wrote:
Falstaff wrote:I suspect they're coming out of the same Sagacious Panda No. 4 Guangzhou glass factory and that they are all exactly the same, whether Invicta Flame Fusion, Stuhrling Krysterna, Swiss Legend Sapphitek


No doubt blown on the Greek island of Lesbos.


Ah yes, where "burning Sappho loved and sung...." Throws a whole new light on the watch crystal origin question. I thought all they did there was muff dive for the tourists.
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by SynMike » August 4th 2011, 10:41am

Flame Fusion is a great thing. It is the process for creating sapphire crystals and rubies for watch movements.

Only Invicta has given it a bad name by using it incorrectly. Their "flame fusion" is something else. Unethical.
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Re: Flame Fusion, what is it?

Post by dude » August 4th 2011, 1:53pm

Had IWG not decided to be so deceptive, a proprietary material could have been a selling point. But no. They had to do the usual and fuck the whole deal up.


Come to think about it, this is the very subject that brought me and Mr. Noob together "oh so long ago". Man, was I a fucked up mess.
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