An Overview of Metals Undergoing Heat Treatment Process
The discovery of heat treatment has helped manufacturers improve on technological advancement. Whereby the metallurgical procedure produces high-quality parts with more precision. Most industries use the heat treatment of metal for various reasons. Some aim to alter the metal’s chemical and physical properties. At Creatingway, we use the procedure to improve the quality and elongate the lifespan of a workpiece. Here is a guide to help you know what to consider during heat treatment of metals.
How to Define Heat Treatment Process?
The manufacturing process comprises metalworking and thermal methods. Such considerations make heat treatment important in altering properties. The change involves metal’s mechanical, physical, and chemical aspects through cooling and heating. The properties changed include formability, ductility, temperature resistance, hardness, strength, and machinability. Heat treatment of metals varies according to the type of material used. Therefore, manufacturers need to consider favorable heat treatment according to their needs.
Types of Metals Used in Heat Treating
it is vital to examine every material aspect to choose the correct method. Since not all metal properties adhere to all heat treatment types. Ferrous metals accommodate most methods compared to non-ferrous ones. Examples of metal alloys include nickel, brass, aluminum, magnesium, titanium, and copper.
- Copper alloys and Copper use Annealing, quenching, and aging.
- Aluminum uses annealing, artificial and natural aging, and a solution heat treatment process.
- Carbon steel, Tool Steel, Cast Iron, and Stainless-Steel use hardening, stress relieving, normalizing, nitriding, case hardening, and tempering.
What Are The Stages Involved During Heat Treatment Process?
In any heat-treating process, the heating stage is the first step. Heat changes the structural features of metals. However, the alteration relies on the metal grading and the degree of temperature used. Manufacturers need to take extra precautions during this stage. Since an error during heating causes cracking and misshaping of the metal. Therefore, it is vital to ensure the material is evenly heated. Below are several factors that determine the heating rate used.
- Metal material heat conductivity
- Cross-section and size of the metal
- The condition state of the metal
In this step, maintaining the metal part temperature is essential. Such a consideration brings out a desired effect on the workpiece. The ability to maintain the metal’s temperature for a certain period is known as holding time. One determines holding time through mass, chemical analysis, and metal thickness. More metal mass requires soaking time.
The main aim of this step is to lower the metal temperature to room temperature. Also, pre-determination of properties takes place. The composition of the metal may revert or stay the same from its original form. Such changes rely on cooling rate, metal type, and the cooling medium. They result in the formation of unique properties and structures for your metal project.
What Are Factors That Affect Heat Treatment Process?
The elements found in alloys greatly influence the heat treatment of metals. Since they delay the diffusion rate of atoms across iron lattices affecting allotropic changes.
Alloying elements that increase hardness include molybdenum, manganese, nickel, and boron. Such metal foundations allow annealing at high temperatures producing improved ductility. With such an aspect, metal composition, therefore, affects the heat treatment process.
Temperature and Time Effect
Time and temperature are major factors affecting the heat treatment process of metals. They affect the soaking, cooling, and heating stages of the workpiece. When the cooling rate increases, a new microstructure, and mechanical properties form. Such an alteration affects the consumers as their desire for the workpiece isn’t met.
Amount of Deformation
Different processes lead to various deformation and changes of parts. The amount of distortion depends on;
- The heat treatment placement in the furnace and method used.
- Stress distribution
- Structure of the metal before the start of the process
With that, the manufacturers must be cautious to prevent deformation during the procedure.
What Kinds of Heat Treatment Process to Use for Steel?
After hardening, the steel becomes too brittle and more rigid due to the internal stress involved during the rapid cooling of the workpiece. Tempering relieves the stress, therefore, reducing the brittleness of steel.
Tempering requires temperatures of 120 – 700 degrees Celsius. Later, the cooling of steel takes place in still air. Such a cooling rate doesn’t affect the metal structure.
The procedure is mainly applicable to low-carbon steel. The metal type contains low strength and softness. With that, the metal acquires opposing metal aspects to that of hardening. Annealing helps in increasing flexibility by relieving internal stress. Also, the steel softens, refining the grain structures. However, the cooling rate varies depending on the metal. There are various ways of cooling a workpiece. Shutting off the furnace allows the steel part and furnace to cool. Also, burying hot steel in sand or ashes is a form of lowering the temperature.
Hardening improves the strength and hardness of steel. Whereby we increase the resistance of the lattice structure. To improve the trait, heat the structure to an 800 – 900 degrees Celsius temperature. Then gradually cool the steel at a rapid rate. Various ways of cooling involve a quenching medium such as brine, water, and oil. As hardening increases, ductility reduces, making steel more brittle.
In conclusion, various metals require a heat treatment process to improve their structures. At Creatingway, we use the process to improve the hardness of the workpiece. Also, using different types of heat treatment, we can alter properties according to consumers’ specifications. Kindly involve Creatingway in projects requiring heat treatment processes to obtain the best results.
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