might be hammered more than others, some areas hammered enough to"work harden". If these stresses are left in the blade they couldaffect the finishing and when it came time to heat treat the blade,the hardening and tempering might not be as even. Potentially enoughstress could be added that the blade would be weak in spots, weakenough that it could fail under enough strain.
Heat treating, encompasses several processes including annealing,normalizing, hardening and tempering. Often the process is called"tempering" but actually that process refers to just one of theseveral processes.The purpose of heat treating plain-carbon steel is to change themechanical properties of steel, usually ductility, hardness, yieldstrength, and impact resistance. As with most strengthening techniquesfor steel, the modulus of elasticity is never affected. Steel has ahigher solid solubility for carbon in the austenite phase, thereforeall heat treatments, except spheroidizing and process annealing, startby heating to an austenitic phase. The rate at which the steel iscooled through the eutectoid reaction affects the rate at which carbondiffuses out of austenite. Generally speaking, cooling quickly willgive a finer pearlite (until the martensite critical temperature isreached) and cooling slowly will give a coarser pearlite. Coolinghypoeutectoid (less than 0.8 wt% C) steel results in a pearliticstructure with α-ferrite at the grain boundaries. If it ishypereutectoid (more than 0.8 wt% C) steel then the structure is fullpearlite with small grains of cementite scattered throughout. Therelative amounts of constituents are found using the lever rule.Following are several kinds of annealing associated with heattreatment:
: Plain-carbon steel is heated to approximately40 °C above Ac
for 1 hour; this assures all the ferritetransforms into austenite (although cementite still might exist ifthe carbon content is greater than the eutectoid). The steel mustthen be cooled slowly, in the realm of 38 °C (100 °F) per hour.Usually it is just furnace cooled, where the furnace is turned offwith the steel still inside. This results in a coarse pearlitic°structure, which means the "bands" of pearlite are thick. Fullyannealed steel is soft and ductile, with no internal stresses,which is often necessary for cost-effective forming. Onlyspheroidized steel is softer and more ductile.