Understanding the Heat treatment process Heat treatment is the controlled process of heating and cooling of metals to alter their physical and mechanical properties without changing their original shape. It can be considered as the process utilized to change certain characteristics of metals and alloys in order to make them more suitable for a particular kind application or use in the industry. Heat Treatment is generally used for increasing the strength of materials like steel and alloys as it greatly affects the mechanical properties such as strength, ductility, hardness, toughness, and wear resistance of the materials. However, it can also be used to alter certain manufacturing defects such as it can help in improving machining, improving the permeability, restoring ductility of the alloys after a harsh working procedure. Thus it can be considered as a permissive manufacturing process that not only helps the other manufacturing processes, but also improves the product performance by increasing strength and other desirable characteristics of the product or metal. Steels are the most commonly used materials on which heat treatment is carried out as they respond very well to the heat treatment. Due to the increasing commercial demand of steels that of any other material they are highly required to be treated with such tampering and altering processes in order to fit into the diverse application areas. Steels are generally heat treated for the following reasons: ď‚ˇ
Softening is carried out in order to reduce the strength or hardness of the steels, remove residual stresses in them, to improve toughness of the material, to restore ductility, to refine grain size or to change the electromagnetic properties of the steel. The most common methods used in the industries to soften the steels are annealing, spheroidizing, normalizing and tempering. ď‚ˇ
Hardening of steels is carried out in order to increase their strength and wear properties. One of the important factors for the hardening of the steels is that they must contain enough carbon and alloy in them. Hence, if there is a sufficient carbon content available in the steels then they can be easily hardened. If it is not so, then the surface of the steel has to be made carbon enriched using various diffusion treatment hardening procedures. ď‚ˇ
Heat treatment is immensely used to modify the physical and mechanical properties of the steels. By this process the service life of the steels is increased and hence they can be used for a longer time period. Various techniques like stress relieving, strengthening, and spring aging are carried out for this purpose. However, the successful heat treatment of steels depends mainly on the composition of the alloy, type and character of the quenching medium and the size and shape of the specimen. It should be apparent that while there are many complicating factors in the Heat treatment processes it can be carried out smoothly by the professionals. They will not only understand this process but also check for the deformities and lapses if any by their highly innovative Inspection Services. These consulting companies also provide Third Party Inspection for assuring the effectiveness of the manufacturing processes like heat treatment etc. in the industries.
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