Intensive quenching Part 1 – What is it?
L. C. F. Canale
, N. I. Kobasko
and G. E. Totten
Various intensive quenching processes have been reported since the 1920s. A historical overviewof these processes is given. Based on the limited information that has been published, it is likelythat many of these systems employed neither intensive quenching processing nor did theyproduce maximum surface compressive stresses. The objective of the present paper is to defineintensive quenching, explaining how it could be used and its processes and advantages.
Heat treatment, Hardening, Intensive quenching, Compressive, Surface residual stress
Every metallurgist has been trained into thinking thatincreasing cooling rates, especially in the martensitictransformation region, leads to increasing potential forcracking.
However, since the 1920s, there have beenvarious, often little known industrial heat treatingprocesses which have been designated as intense,intensive, rapid, drastic, severe, or extreme quenchingor shell hardening methods.
Figure 1 illustrates theuniform hardened case obtained by ‘shell hardening’ acarbon steel shaft.
The essence of these methods is to harden lesshardenable steels using very fast cooling rates in orderto impart high compressive stresses and improved fatigueproperties to the quenched component.
Therefore, inview of the classical training received by metallurgists,why are these processes not accompanied by quenchcracking? In fact, what is intensive quenching?In 1964, Kobasko published the ﬁrst of an extensiveseries of papers in which he used the term ‘intensivequenching’. His experimental data provided numericalevidence that although it is true that increasing coolingrates result in increasing propensity for cracking, ashistorically recognised, there does exist a criticalcooling rate above which cracking propensity decreases(Fig. 2).
Computer simulations were later used to validate andto develop design methodologies.
Figure 3 illus-trates the results of one such intensive quenchingsimulation performed and experimentally validated.
Note the uniform hardened case surrounding thecomponent and that the case depth is independent of the section size.In the present paper, an overview of the intensivequenching process is provided. This discussion willinclude the heat transfer criteria that deﬁne an intensivequenching process. The use of intensive quenching informing maximum surface compressive stresses will alsobe discussed here. Part 2 of the series will discuss ingreater detail the mechanism of residual stress formationduring intensive quenching.
As a means of introducing the heat transfer mechanismof intensive quenching, it is helpful to envision animmersion quench of a simple cylindrical steel shape inwater. Figure 4 illustrates the three primary heattransfer cooling mechanisms occurring during conven-tional immersion cooling in water: full ﬁlm boiling(vapour blanket cooling), nucleate boiling and convec-tive cooling.
Each of these cooling mechanisms, whichcoexist on the steel surface during the quenching pro-cess, is associated with very different heat transfer coef-ﬁcients
for full ﬁlm boiling
100–250 W m
,for nucleate boiling
10–20 kW m
K and forconvective cooling
700 W m
K. The simul-taneous presence and relative stability of these widelyvarying heat transfer conditions are a signiﬁcant factorin inﬂuencing the non-uniform cooling and increasedstresses during a water quenching process.A series of patents published from 1967 to 1971
describe a quenching process designated as ‘extreme’or ‘drastic’. These processes utilised water or brineand pressurised tanks (accumulators or ‘bladders’)which delivered very high volumes of quenchant,
3000 gal min
, to selected surface areas of the partbeing quenched.Morio reported that the objective in drastic quenchingwas to quench the part using sufﬁciently high agitationrates to eliminate ﬁlm boiling on the surface whichwould provide a more uniform quench. The ‘criticalcooling rate’ for this process (drastic quenching) was thecooling rate which is necessary to eliminate ﬁlm boiling.The agitation rate/quench severity correlation used tocalculate the critical cooling rate was taken from thetraditional Grossmann quench severity data shown inTable 1 (Ref. 8). According to Morio,
the practicallimit for water quenching was
1.5–2.0, unless highpressure sprays were employed. Furthermore, it is
Universidade de Sa˜o Paulo, Sa˜o Carlos, SP, Brasil
Intensive Technologies Ltd. Kyiv, Ukraine
Associac¸a˜o Instituto Internacional de Pesquisa, Sa˜o Carlos, SP, BrasilPortland State University, Portland, OR, USA
Corresponding author, email GETotten@aol.com
2007 IHTSE PartnershipPublished by Maney on behalf of the Partnership
International Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering