What Happens When Metals Undergo Heat Treatment?
What does it mean when metals undergo the heat treatment process? Improve your understanding of what heat treatment is with this review, complete with a variety of examples of the process.
Defining Heat Treatment in Metalworking
Heat treatment is the process of heating and cooling metals to change their microstructure and to bring out the physical and mechanical characteristics that make metals more desirable.
The temperature metals are heated to and the rate of cooling after heat treatment can significantly change metal’s properties.
The most common reasons metals undergo heat treatment are to improve their strength, hardness, toughness, ductility and corrosion resistance. Get a better idea of the process with the examples of common heat treatments that follow.
Annealing is a form of heat treatment that brings a metal closer to its equilibrium state. This softens metal, making it more workable and providing for greater ductility. In this process, the metal is heated above its upper critical temperature to change its microstructure. Afterward, the metal is slow-cooled.
What Is Quench Hardening?
Less expensive than annealing, quenching is a heat treatment method that quickly returns metal to room temperature after it is heated above its upper critical temperature. The quenching process stops the cooling process from altering the metal’s microstructure.
Quenching, which can be done with water, oil and other media, hardens steel at the same temperature that full annealing does.
Edited by Eric
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