Practical heat treating

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Practical Heat Treating / Edition 2

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Work Hardening

Classified as: Heat Treating. What is heat treatment? This book describes heat treating technology in clear, concise, and nontheoretical language. It is an excellent introduction and guide for design and manufacturing engineers, technicians, students, and others who need to understand why heat treatment is specified and how different processes are used to obtain desired properties. The Second Edition has been extensively updated and revised by Jon L. Dossett, who has more than forty years of experience in heat treating operations and management.

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Heat treatment is the heating and cooling of metals to change their physical and mechanical properties, without letting it change its shape. Heat treatment could be said to be a method for strengthening materials but could also be used to alter some mechanical properties such as improving formability, machining, etc. The most common application is metallurgical but heat treatment can also be used in manufacture of glass, aluminum, steel and many more materials. The process of heat treatment involves the use of heating or cooling, usually to extreme temperatures to achieve the wanted result.

It is very important manufacturing processes that can not only help manufacturing process but can also improve product, its performance, and its characteristics in many ways. The manipulation of heat treatment response is a prime reason for adding alloying elements to steels. An appreciation of the thermal behavior, with the accompanying microstructural changes, is fundamental to the understanding of heat treatment and the mechanical properties so generated. We heat treat metals in an attempt to optimize the mechanical and physical properties for a given application. As many heat treatments are applied to soften metal in order to allow metal working operations such as deep drawing, cold forging and machining.

Where increased strength and wear resistance is required, hardening and tempering treatments are given. Extremely hard steels find applications in cutting tools where highly defined edges must be maintained and heat treatment of these steels is a critical operation. Hard surfaces with ductile base material may be developed by heat treatment. There are also the solution heat treatments and ageing processes designed to increase the strength of some non-ferrous metals and precipitation hardening steels. Heat treatment is a significant industry and forms a basic part of the industrial infrastructure of countries.

Quenching is the rapid cooling of a work piece in water, oil or air to obtain certain material properties. A type of heat treating, quenching prevents undesired low-temperature processes, such as phase transformations, from occurring.

Heat Treatment of Steel

It does this by reducing the window of time during which these undesired reactions are both thermodynamically favorable, and kinetically accessible; for instance, quenching can reduce the crystal grain size of both metallic and plastic materials, increasing their hardness.

In metallurgy, quenching is most commonly used to harden steel by introducing martensite, in which case the steel must be rapidly cooled through its eutectoid point, the temperature at which austenite becomes unstable. In steel alloyed with metals such as nickel and manganese, the eutectoid temperature becomes much lower, but the kinetic barriers to phase transformation remain the same. This allows quenching to start at a lower temperature, making the process much easier. High speed steel also has added tungsten, which serves to raise kinetic barriers and give the illusion that the material has been cooled more rapidly than it really has.

Even cooling such alloys slowly in air has most of the desired effects of quenching. The process of quenching is a progression, beginning with heating the sample. Minimizing uneven heating and overheating is key to imparting desired material properties. The second step in the quenching process is soaking. Work pieces can be soaked in air air furnace , a liquid bath, or a vacuum. The recommended time allocation in salt or lead baths is up to 6 minutes.