 Heat Treatment is the controlled heating and
cooling of metals to alter their physical and
mechanical properties without changing the
product shape.
 Steels are particularly suitable for heat treatment,
since they respond well to heat treatment and the
commercial use of steels exceeds that of any other

 Generally, heat treatment uses phase
transformation during heating and cooling to
change a microstructure in a solid state.
 In heat treatment, the processing is most often
entirely thermal and modifies only structure.
Thermomechanical treatments, which modify
component shape and structure, and
thermochemical treatments which modify surface
chemistry and structure, are also important
processing approaches which fall into the domain
of heat treatment.
Iron carbon diagram form the basis of heat

Various types of heat treatment processes
are used to modify the following
properties or conditions of the steel:
 Improve the toughness
 Increase the hardness
 Increase the ductility
 Improve the machinability
 Refine the grain structure
 Remove the residual stresses
 Improve the wear resistance

Annealing is a heat process whereby a metal is
heated to a specific temperature, held at that
temperature and then allowed to cool slowly.
 When a metal is cold-worked, by any of the many
industrial shaping operations, changes occur in both
its physical and mechanical properties.
 While the increased hardness and strength which
result from the working treatment may be of
importance in certain applications, it is frequently
necessary to return the metal to its original condition
to allow further forming operations (e.g. deep
drawing) to be carried out of for applications where
optimum physical properties, such as electrical
conductivity, are essential.
 The treatment given to the metal to bring about a
decrease of the hardness and an increase in the
ductility is known as annealing.

 This usually means keeping the deformed metal for a
certain time at a temperature higher than about one-
third the absolute melting point.
 Cold working produces an increase in dislocation
density; for most metals ρ increases from the value of
lines m
typical of the annealed state, to
after a few per cent deformation, and up to
lines m
in the heavily deformed state.
 Such an array of dislocations gives rise to a
substantial strain energy stored in the lattice, so that
the cold-worked condition is thermodynamically
unstable relative to the undeformed one.
 Consequently, the deformed metal will try to return
to a state of lower free energy, i.e. a more perfect

 In general, this return to a more equilibrium structure
cannot occur spontaneously but only at elevated
temperatures where thermally activated processes
such as diffusion, cross slip and climb take place.

 Like all non-equilibrium processes the rate of approach
to equilibrium will be governed by an Arrhenius
equation of the form:
Rate = A exp [-Q/kT]
where the activation energy Q depends on impurity
content, strain, etc.

 The formation of atmospheres by strain-ageing is one
method whereby the metal reduces its excess lattice
energy but this process is unique in that it usually
leads to a further increase in the structure sensitive
properties rather than a reduction to the value
characteristic of the annealed condition.

 It is necessary, therefore, to increase the temperature
of the deformed metal above the strain-ageing
temperature before it recovers its original softness
and other properties.

The removal of the cold-worked condition, or
in other words, the annealing process, may be
divided into three stages:
 Recovery
 Recrystallization
 Grain growth

 This is primarily a low temperature process, and
the property changes produced do not cause
appreciable change in microstructure or the
properties, such as tensile strength, yield
strength, hardness and ductility.
 The principal effect of recovery is the relief of
internal stresses due to cold working and this
prevents stress corrosion cracking and minimizes
the distortion produced by residual stresses.
 Electrical conductivity is also increased
appreciably during the recovery stage.
 Commercially, this low temperature treatment in
the recovery range is known as stress relief
annealing or process annealing.

This process describes the changes in the
distribution and density of defects with
associated changes in physical and mechanical
properties which take place in worked crystals
before recrystallization or alteration of
orientation occurs.
The recovery stage of annealing is chiefly
concerned with the rearrangement of the cold
worked dislocations to reduce the lattice energy
and does not involve the migration of large-
angle boundaries.
This rearrangement of the dislocations is
assisted by thermal activation.
 Mutual annihilation of dislocations is one process.
 When the two dislocations are on the same slip
plane, it is possible that as they run together and
annihilate they will have to cut through intersecting
dislocations on other planes, i.e. ‘forest’
 This recovery process will, therefore, be aided by
thermal fluctuations since the activation energy for
such a cutting process is small.
 When the two dislocations of opposite sign are not
on the same slip plane, climb or cross-slip must first
occur, and both processes require thermal
One of the most important recovery processes
which leads to a resultant lowering of the lattice
strain energy is rearrangement of the
dislocations into cell walls.

This process in its simplest form was originally
termed polygonization whereby dislocations all
of one sign align themselves into walls to form
small-angle or subgrain boundaries.
 During deformation a region of the lattice is curved,
as shown in Figure 7.50a, and the observed
curvature can be attributed to the formation of
excess edge dislocations parallel to the axis of

 On heating, the dislocations form a sub-boundary by
a process of annihilation and rearrangement. This is
shown in Figure 7.50b, from which it can be seen
that it is the excess dislocations of one sign which
remain after the annihilation process that align
themselves into walls.
 Polygonization is a simple form of sub-boundary
formation and the basic movement is climb
whereby the edge dislocations change their
arrangement from a horizontal to a vertical
grouping. This process involves the migration of
vacancies to or from the edge of the half-planes of
the dislocations .
 The removal of vacancies from the lattice,
together with the reduced strain energy of
dislocations which results, can account for the
large change in both electrical resistivity and
stored energy observed during this stage, while the
change in hardness can be attributed to the
rearrangement of dislocations and to the reduction
in the density of dislocations.
 Recrystallization takes place by a combination of
nucleation of strain free grains and the growth of these
nuclei to absorb the entire cold worked material.
 The term recrystallization temperature does not refer to a
definite temperature below which recrystallization will not
occur, but refers to the approximate temperature at which
a highly cold worked material completely recrystallizes in
one hour.
 Pure metals have low recrystallization temperatures as
compared with alloys.
 Zinc, tin and lead have recrystallization temperatures
below room temperature. This means that these metals
cannot be cold worked at room temperature since they
crystallize spontaneously, reforming a strain free

The recrystallization temperatures of several metals and
alloys are listed as in the table below:

Material Recrystallization Temperature
Copper ( 99.99 %) 250
Copper ( 5 % Zinc) 600
Aluminum (99.99 %) 175
Aluminum alloys 600
Low carbon steel 1000
Zinc 50
Tin 25
Lead 25
 In the primary recrystallization stage the deformed
lattice is completely replaced by a new unstrained
one by means of a nucleation and growth process, in
which practically stress free grains grow from nuclei
formed in the deformed matrix.

 The orientation of the new grains differs
considerably from that of the crystals they consume,
so that the growth process must be regarded as
incoherent,i.e. it takes place by the advance of
large-angle boundaries separating the new crystals
from the strained matrix.
During the growth of grains, atoms get
transferred from one grain to another across the
boundary. Such a process is thermally activated
as shown in Figure

Variation in free energy during grain growth.
It is well known that the rate of recrystallization depends on several
important factors, namely:
(1) the amount of prior deformation (the greater the degree
of cold work, the lower the recrystallization temperature
and the smaller the grain size),
(2) the temperature of the anneal (as the temperature is
lowered the time to attain a constant grain size increases
(3) the purity of the sample (e.g. zone refined aluminium
recrystallizes below room temperature, whereas
aluminium of commercial purity must be heated several
hundred degrees).
(4)Increasing the annealing time decreases the
recrystallization temperature for the start of

 Measurements, using the light microscope, of the increase in
diameter of a new grain as a function of time at any given
temperature can be expressed as shown in the figure. The
diameter increases linearly with time until the growing grains
begin to impinge on one another, after which the rate
necessarily decreases.

Figure 7.52 Variation of grain diameter with time at a constant
The classical interpretation of these
observations is that nuclei form spontaneously in
the matrix after a so-called nucleation time t
and these nuclei then proceed to grow steadily
as shown by the linear relationship.
The driving force for the process is provided by
the stored energy of cold work contained in the
strained grain on one side of the boundary
relative to that on the other side.
Such an interpretation would suggest that the
recrystallization process occurs in two distinct
stages, i.e. first nucleation and then growth.

 During the linear growth period the radius of a
nucleus is R= G(t-to), where G, the growth rate, is
dR/dt assuming the nucleus is spherical, the volume
of the recrystallized nucleus is

 If the number of nuclei that form in a time
increment dt is N dt per unit volume of
unrecrystallized matrix, and if the nuclei do not
impinge on one another, then for unit total volume

This equation is valid in the initial stages when
f<<1. When the nuclei impinge on one another the
rate of recrystallization decreases and is related
to the amount untransformed (1 – f) by

where, for short times, equation reduces to last
This Johnson–Mehl equation is expected to apply
to any phase transformation where there is
random nucleation, constant N and G and small
 In practice, nucleation is not random and the rate
not constant so that equation will not strictly apply.
 For the case where the nucleation rate decreases
exponentially, Avrami developed the equation

where k and n are constants, with n≈ 3 for a fast and
n≈ 4 for a slow, decrease of nucleation rate.
 Provided there is no change in the nucleation
mechanism, n is independent of temperature but k is
very sensitive to temperature T; clearly from
equation k=∏NG
/3 and both N and G depend on T.

 The process of recrystallization may be pictured as
 After deformation, polygonization of the bent lattice
regions on a fine scale occurs and this results in the
formation of several regions in the lattice where the
strain energy is lower than in the surrounding matrix;
this is a necessary primary condition for nucleation.
 During this initial period when the angles between the
sub-grains are small and less than one degree, the sub-
grains form and grow quite rapidly.
 However, as the sub-grains grow to such a size that the
angles between them become of the order of a few
degrees, the growth of any given sub-grain at the
expense of the others is very slow.

 Eventually one of the sub-grains will grow to such a
size that the boundary mobility begins to increase
with increasing angle. A large angle boundary, θ≈(30–
40°), has a high mobility because of the large lattice
irregularities or ‘gaps’ which exist in the boundary
transition layer.

 The atoms on such a boundary can easily transfer
their allegiance from one crystal to the other.

 This sub-grain is then able to grow at a much faster
rate than the other subgrains which surround it and
so acts as the nucleus of a recrystallized grain.

The further it grows, the greater will be the difference in
orientation between the nucleus and the matrix it meets and
consumes, until it finally becomes recognizable as a new strain-
free crystal separated from its surroundings by a large-angle
Whether recrystallization nucleus it grows to become a strain-free
grain depends on three factors:
(1) the stored energy of cold work must be sufficiently
high to provide the required driving force,
(2) the potential nucleus should have a size advantage
over its neighbours
(3) it must be capable of continued growth by existing in a
region of high lattice curvature (e.g.transition band) so
that the growing nucleus can quickly achieve a high-
angle boundary.
 Prior deformation, for example, will control the extent
to which a region of the lattice is curved.
 The larger the deformation, the more severely will
the lattice be curved and, consequently, the smaller
will be the size of a growing sub-grain when it
acquires a large-angle boundary.
 The importance of impurity content on recrystallization
temperature is also evident from the effect impurities
have on obstructing dislocation sub-boundary and grain
boundary mobility.
 The intragranular nucleation of strain-free grains, as
discussed above, is considered as abnormal subgrain
growth, in which it is necessary to specify that some
sub-grains acquire a size advantage and are able to
grow at the expense of the normal subgrains.
 It has been suggested that nuclei may also be formed by
a process involving the rotation of individual cells so that
they coalesce with neighbouring cells to produce larger
cells by volume diffusion and dislocation rearrangement
 Segregation of solute atoms to, and precipitation on, the
grain boundary tends to inhibit intergranular nucleation
and gives an advantage to intragranular nucleation,
provided the dispersion is not too fine.
 Small, finely dispersed particles retard recrystallization
by reducing both the nucleation rate and the grain
boundary mobility, whereas large coarsely dispersed
particles enhance recrystallization by increasing the
nucleation rate.

 When primary recrystallization is complete (i.e.
when the growing crystals have consumed all the
strained material) the material can lower its energy
further by reducing its total area of grain surface.
 In this stage the tensile strength and hardness
continue to decrease but at a much less rate than
the recrystallization stage.
 With extensive annealing it is often found that grain
boundaries straighten, small grains shrink and larger
ones grow.
 The general phenomenon is known as grain growth;
the major change observed during this stage is the
growth of the grain boundaries and reaching the
original grain size .

 The most important factor governing the process is the
surface tension of the grain boundaries.
 A grain boundary has a surface tension, T (= surface-free
energy per unit area) because its atoms have a higher free
energy than those within the grains.
 Consequently, to reduce this energy a polycrystal will tend
to minimize the area of its grain boundaries.
 Second-phase particles have a major inhibiting effect on
boundary migration and are particularly effective in the
control of grain size.
 The pinning process arises from surface tension forces
exerted by the particle–matrix interface on the grain
boundary as it migrates past the particle.

 Nevertheless, even after growth has finished the grain
size in a specimen which was previously severely cold-
worked remains relatively small, because of the large
number of nuclei produced by the working treatment.

 Exaggerated grain growth can often be induced,
however, in one of two ways, namely:
(1) by subjecting the specimen to a critical strain-
anneal treatment, or
(2) by a process of secondary recrystallization.

 By applying a critical deformation (usually a few
per cent strain) to the specimen the number of
nuclei will be kept to a minimum, and if this strain
is followed by a high-temperature anneal in a
thermal gradient some of these nuclei will be
made more favourable for rapid growth than

 The only driving force for secondary
recrystallization is the reduction of grain
boundary-free energy, as in normal grain growth.
Special conditions are necessary. In some regions
the grain boundaries become free (e.g. if the
inclusions slowly dissolve or the boundary tears
away) and as a result the grain size in such regions
becomes appreciably larger than the average.

 Annealing results in modification of the properties of
steel. The figure in the next slide shows the change in
some of these properties on annealing.
 During the recovery stage the decrease in stored energy
and electrical resistivity is accompanied by only a slight
lowering of hardness.
 The greatest simultaneous change in properties occurs
during the primary recrystallization stage.
 During recrystallization stage, there is a significant drop
in tensile strength, hardness and a large increase in the
ductility of the material which is illustrated in the


The benefits of annealing are:
 Improved ductility
 Removal of residual stresses that result
from cold-working or machining
 Improved machinability
 Grain refinement

At the same time, annealing also has a
few disadvantages as it reduces the
hardness, yield strength and tensile
strength of the steel

 Full annealing is the process by which the
distorted cold worked lattice structure is
changed back to one which is strain free through
the application of heat. This process is carried
out entirely in the solid state and is usually
followed by slow cooling in the furnace from the
desired temperature.
 The austenitising temp is a function of carbon
content of the steel and can be generalised as:
 For hypoeutectoid steels and eutectoid steel
 Ac3+(20-40oC) [to obtain single phase
 For hypereutectoid steels
 Ac1+(20-40oC) [to obtain austenite+

To refine the grain size of steel castings, or
of hot worked steels to improve the
mechanical properties.
To soften the steel
To relieve internal stresses
To improve machinability
It also reduces some defects like aligned
sulphide inclusions, or bands in steels.

The three important parts of full annealing are:
 Proper austenitising temperature
 Soaking time
 Very slow cooling through A1(critical

The formation of austenite destroys all structures
that have existed before heating. Slow cooling
yields the original phases of ferrite and pearlite in
hypoeuetectoid steels and that of cementite and
pearlite in hypereutectoid steels.

 The subsequent heating, soaking and hot working
homogenises the structure to a large extent
since diffusion of C is very fast at high temp and
the simultaneous plastic deformation breaks the
dendrites with different portions moving in
relation to each other which also facilitate
 The main aim of homogenising annealing is to
make the composition uniform, i.e to remove
chemical heterogeneity
 The alloy steel ingots are homogenised at higher
temp like 1150-1200
C for 10-20 hours as the
diffusion of substitutional solid solution forming
elements is very low
 The impact energy and ductility of the steel
increase as the homogenizing temperature
increases and the hardness, yield strength
and tensile strength decrease with an
increase in the homogenizing temperature.
 Homogenising annealing has a few
shortcomings as well. It results in:
 Grain coarsening of austenite, thereby impairing the
 Thick scales on the surface of steels
 It is an expensive process
 Also known as process annealing or sub-critical
 Recrystallization annealing consists of heating the cold
worked steel above its recrystallization temp, soaking
at this temp, and then cooling thereafter.
 Process Annealing is used to treat work-hardened
parts made out of low-Carbon steels (< 0.25%
Carbon). This allows the parts to be soft enough to
undergo further cold working without fracturing.
 The main aims of recrystallization annealing are:
 To restore ductility
 To refine coarse grains
 To improve electrical and magnetic properties in
grain-oriented Si steels.
 No phase change takes place and the final
structure consists of strain-free, equiaxed grains of
fine ferrite produced at the expense of deformed
elongated ferrite grains.
 Recrystallization temp(T
) is given by:
 T
= (0.3-0.5)T

 As little scaling and decarburisation occurs in
recrystallization annealing, it is preferred over full
 However It would produce very coarse grains if the
steel has undergone critical amount of
deformation. In such cases, full annealing is
o Spheroidisation annealing consists of heating, soaking and
cooling, invariably very slowly to produce spheroidal
pearlite or globular form of carbides in steels.
o Hypereutectoid steels consist of pearlite and cementite.
The cementite forms a brittle network around the pearlite.
This presents difficulty in machining the hypereutectoid
o To improve the machinability of the annealed
hypereutectoid steel spheroidize annealing is applied.
o This process will produce a spheroidal or globular form of a
carbide in a ferritic matrix which makes the machining easy.
o Prolonged time at the elevated temperature will completely
break up the pearlitic structure and cementite network.
The structure is called spheroidite.
 Heating the steel to just below A
holding at this temperature for a very long
period followed by slow cooling.
 Austenitise the steel at a temp not more than
C above A
, and cool very slowly through
to transform this inhomogeneous austenite
at a temperature not more than 50
C below

Spheroidizing process applied at a temperature
below the LCT.

Spheroidizing process applied at a temperature below
and above the LCT.

 minimum hardness
 maximum ductility
 maximum machinability
 maximum softness

Commonly used for alloy steels to soften the
In isothermal annealing, steel austenitised at
a temp 20-40
C above Ac
, is cooled quickly
to the temp of isothermal holding( which is
below A
temp in the pearlitic range), held
there for the required time so that complete
transformation of austenite takes place and
then normally cooled in air
The closer the temp of isothermal holding is to A1,
coarser is the pearlite, softer is the steel, but
longer is the time of isothermal transformation.

 As cooling can be done in air after the
transformation is complete, total time of
heat treatment and the cost of annealing is
 The productivity of the furnace is high
 The microstructure obtained is more uniform
and thus better control over hardness can be
obtained as transformation takes place at a
constant temperature.
 Improved machinability with good surface
 Reduced warping in subsequent hardening
• Stress-Relief Annealing is useful in removing
residual stresses due to heavy machining or
other cold-working processes.
• It is usually carried out at temperatures below
the LCT, which is usually selected around
• The main aims of stress-relief annealing are:
• To relieve the internal stresses, and thus, allow
higher external loads to be applied
• Increase fatigue life and prevent intercrystalline
• To reduce chance of warpage or cracking, or risk
of distortion in cracking
• To increase impact resistance and lower
susceptibility to brittle fracture
• No change of dimensions in service life

 The normalizing of steel is carried out by heating
above the UCT (Upper Critical Temperature) to
single phase austenitic region to get
homogeneous austenite, soaking there for some
time and then cooling it in air to room

 The austenitising temperature range are:
 For hypoeutectoid steels and eutectoid
• A
+ (40-60
 For hypereutectoid steels
• A
+ (30-50

During normalising we use grain refinement
which is associated with allotropic
transformation upon heating γ→α
Parts that require maximum toughness and
those subjected to impact are often
When large cross sections are normalized,
they are also tempered to further reduce
stress and more closely control mechanical
The microstructure obtained by normalizing
depends on the composition of the castings
(which dictates its hardenability) and the
cooling rate.

Figure below shows the normalizing temperatures
for hypoeutectoid and hypereutectoid steels

To produce a harder and stronger steel than
full annealing
To improve machinability
To modify and/or refine the grain structure
To obtain a relatively good ductility without
reducing the hardness and strength
Improve dimensional stability
Produce a homogeneous microstructure
Reduce banding
Provide a more consistent response when
hardening or case hardening






 The metal is heated to a higher temperature and then
removed from the furnace for air cooling in normalizing
rather than furnace cooling.
 In normalizing, the cooling rate is slower than that of a
quench-and-temper operation but faster than that used in
 As a result of this intermediate cooling rate, the parts will
possess a hardness and strength somewhat greater than if
 Fully annealed parts are uniform in softness (and
machinability) throughout the entire part; since the entire
part is exposed to the controlled furnace cooling. In the case
of the normalized part, depending on the part geometry, the
cooling is non-uniform resulting in non-uniform material
properties across the part.
 Internal stresses are more in normalizing as compared to
 Grain size obtained in normalizing is finer than in annealing.
 Normalizing is a cheaper and less time-consuming process.

The slower cooling of annealing results in higher temperature
transformation to ferrite and pearlite and coarser
microstructures than does normalizing.

Annealing and normalizing do not present a significant
difference on the ductility of low carbon steels. As the
carbon content increases, annealing maintains the %
elongation around 20%. On the other hand, the ductility of
the normalized high carbon steels drop to 1 to 2 % level.

 The tensile strength and the yield point of the
normalized steels are higher than the annealed
 Normalizing and annealing do not show a
significant difference on the tensile strength
and yield point of the low carbon steels.
 However, normalized high carbon steels
present much higher tensile strength and yield
point than those that are annealed. This can
be illustrated from the figures.

Low and medium carbon steels can maintain similar
hardness levels when normalized or annealed. However,
when high carbon steels are normalized they maintain
higher levels of hardness than those that are annealed.

 Better mechanical properties
 Lesser time-consuming
 Lower cost of fuel and operation

 Greater softness
 Complete absence of internal stresses which
is a necessity in complex and intricate parts

It is the process of heating the steel to
proper austenitizing temperature , soaking at
this temperature to get a fine grained and
homogeneous austenite , and then cooling
the steel at a rate faster than its critical
cooling rate.
The aims of hardening are:

1. Main aim of hardening is to induce high
hardness. The cutting ability of a tool is
proportional to its hardness.
2. Many machine parts and all tools are hardened
to induce high wear resistance higher is the
hardness , higher is the wear and the abrasion
resistance .For example ,gears, shaft.
3. The main objective of hardening machine
components made of structural steel sis to
develop high yield strength with good
toughness and ductility to bear high working

The steel is first heated to proper austenising
temperature to obtain a homogeneous and
fine grained austenite. This temperature
depends on the composition(carbon as well
as alloying elements).
The austenitising temperature of plain
carbon steels depends on the carbon content
of the steel and is generalised as :

For hypo-eutectoid steels :Ac3 + (20 — 40°C)
For hyper-eutectoid steels and eutectoid
steel:Ac1 + (20 — 40°C)
 Hypereutectoid steels, when heated in above
temperature range, to obtain homogeneous and
fine-grained austenite which on quenching
transforms to fine-grained (very fine
needles/plates), and hard martensite as is
desired to be obtained.
 Heating these steels only up to critical range
(between Ac3 and Ac1) is avoided in practice.
 Steel then has austenitic and ferrite.
 On quenching, only austenite transforms to
martensite, and ferrite remains as it is, i.e.,
incomplete hardening occurs .
 The presence of soft ferrite does not permit to
achieve high hardness, if that is the objective.

 If the aim is to get high strength by the process
of tempering ferrite does not permit this as it
has low tensile and yield strengths .
 In fact, ferrite forms the easy path to fracture.
 Quenching of hypoeutectoid steels from
temperatures much above the proper
temperatures , when austenite has become
coarse, results in coarse acicular form of
 Coarse martensite is more brittle, and a unit or
two lower in hardness. It lowers the impact
strength even after tempering, and is more
prone to quench-cracking.

 Hypereutectoid steels, when heated in the above
range, i.e., just above Ac1 have fine grains of
austenite and proeutectoid cementite.
 On quenching austenite transforms to fine
martensite and cememtite remains unchanged.
 As the hardness of cementite (≈ 800 BHN) is
more than that of martensite (650-750 BHN), its
presence increases the hardness, wear and
abrasion resistance as compared to only
martensitic structure.
 If temperature of austenitisation is much higher
than Ac1 but still below Acm temperature, a part
of proeutectoid cementite gets dissolved to
increase the carbon content of austenhlc(>

On quenching as-quenched hardness is less,
because :
1. Lesser amount of proeutectoid cementite is
2. Larger amount of soft retained austenite is
obtained as the dissolved carbon of
cementite has lowered the Ms and Mf
3. A bit coarser martensite has lesser

 Heating hypereutectoid steels to a temperature
higher than Acm results in 100% austenite . It is
very coarse austenite as very rapid grain-growth
occurs due to dissolution of restraining
proeutectoid cementite .
 The as-quenched hardness is low because of:
1) Absence of harder cementite.
2) As more carbon has dissolved in austenite, more
retained austenite is obtained.
3) Coarser martensite is a bit less hard and more
 Thus, these temperatures are avoided in carbon
 When a heated steel object (say at 840°C) is plunged
into a stationary bath of cold it has three stages as:

Stage A -vapour-blanket stage:
 Immediately on quenching, coolant gets vapourized
as the steel part is at high temperature, and thus, a
continuous vapour- blanket envelopes the steel part.
 Heat escapes from the hot surface very slowly by
radiation and conduction through the blanket of
water vapour.
 Since the vapour-film is a poor heat conductor, the
cooling rate is relatively low (stage A in fig ). This
long stage is undesirable in most quenching
Stage B-Intermittent contact stage (Liquid-boiling
 Heat is removed in the form of heat of
vaporization in this stage as is indicated by the
steep slope of the cooling curve.
 During this stage, the vapour-blanket is broken
intermittently allowing the coolant to come in
contact with the hot surface at one instant, but
soon being pushed away by violent boiling action
of vapour bubble.
 The rapid cooling in this stage soon brings the
metal surface below the boiling point of the
 The vaporization then stops. Second stage
corresponds to temperature range of 500◦ to
100◦c , and this refers to nose of the CCT curve
of the steel , when the steel transforms very
rapidly ( to non martensite product ).
 Thus, the rate of cooling in this stage is of great
importance in hardening of steels.

Stage C-Direct-Contact stage (Liquid-cooling
 This stage begins when the temperature of steel
surface Is below the boiling point of coolant.
 Vapours do not form. The cooling is due to
convection and conduction through the liquid.
Cooling is slowest here.

 As the aim is to get martensite, the coolant should
have quenching power to cool austenite to let it
transform to martensite. The following factors effect
the quenching power of the coolant :
 The cooling rate decreases as the temperature of
water and brine increases, i.e., it increases stage ‘A’,
i.e., helps in persistence of the vapour blanket stage.
 The increased temperature brings it closer to its
boiling point, and thus, requires less heat to form
vapour, specially above 60°C.
 Good range of temperature for water as coolant is
 Oils in general, show increased cooling rates with the
rise of temperature, with optimum cooling rates in
range 50°—80°C.

 In oils, the increase of temperature increases the
persistence of vapour-blanket, but this resulting decrease
in the cooling rate is more than compensated by the
decrease of viscosity (with the rise in temperature) to
result in increase of rate of heat removal through the oil.
 If the boiling point of a coolant is low, vapours form easily
to increase the ‘A’ stage of cooling. ¡t is better to use a
coolant with higher boiling point. A coolant with low
specific heat gets heated up at a faster rate to form
vapours easily.
 A coolant with low latent heat of vapourisation changes
into vapour easily to promote ‘A’ stage, i.e., decreases the
cooling rate.
 A coolant with high thermal conductivity increases the
cooling rate. Coolants with low viscoity provide faster
cooling rates and decrease the ‘A’ stage.

 A coolant should be able to Provide rate of cooling
fast enough to avoid transformation of austenite to
pearlite and bainite . Plain carbon steel invariably
require çooling in water or brine. Whereby alloy
steels are quenched normally in oils.
 But milder the cooling medium , lesser the internal
stresses developed , and thus lesser the danger of
distortion , or cracks . An ideal quenching medium is
one which is able to provide very fast cooling rate
near the nose of the curve ( 650 -550°C)and at the
same time it should provide very considerable slower
rate if cooling within the range of martensitic
transformation( 300 - 200°C) to minimize internal
stresses .

 The oldest and still the most popular quenching medium,
water meets the requirements of low cost ,general easy
availability, easy handling and safety.
 The cooling characteristics change more than oil with the
rise of temperature, specially there is a rapid fall in
cooling capacity as the temperature rises above 60°C,
because of easy formation of vapour-blanket.
 The optimum cooling pover is when water is 2O-4O°C.
 Thc cooling power of water is between brine and oils.
 Water provides high cooling power to avoid the
transformation of austenite to pearlite/bainite, but the
major draw back is that it also provides high cooling rate
in the the temperature range of martensite formation.
 At this stage, the steel is simultaneously under the
influence of structural stresses (non-uniform change in
structure) and thermal stresses which increase the risk of
crack formation.

 Sodium chloride aqueous solutions of about 10% by weight
are widely used and are called brines.
 The cooling power is between 10% NaOH aqueous solution
and water.
 These are corrosive to appliances.
 The greater cooling efficiency of brines, or other aqueous
solutions is based as :
 In brine heating of the solution at the steel surface causes
the deposition of crystal of the salt on hot steel surface .
 This layer of solid crystals disrupts with mild explosive
violence, und throws off a cloud of crystals. This action
destroys the vapour-film from the surface, and thus
permits direct contact of the coolant with the steel
surface with an accompanying rapid removal of heat.
 Brines are used where cooling rates faster than water arc
 Oils have cooling power between water at 40°C to water at
 In oil-quench, considerable variation can be obtained by the use
of animal, vegetable, or mineral oil, or their blends.
 Oils should be used at 50- 80°C when these are more fluid, i.e
less VISCOUS, which increases the cooling power.
 As the oils used generally have high boiling points, moderate
increase of temperature of oil does not very much increase the
vapour blanket stage. However, oils in contrast to water, or
brine, have much lower quenching power .
 Its this relatively slow cooling rate in the range of martensitic
formation is atlvantageous as it helps in minimsing the danger to
crack formation.
 Oils with high viscosity are less volatile, and thus have decreased
vapour-blanket stage (increase thecooling rate). As lesser volatile
matter is lost, their cooling power is not affected much with use.

 polymer quenchants cool rapidly the heated
steel to Ms temperature, and then rather slowly
when martensite is forming .
 Polymer quenchants are water-soluble organic
chemicals of high ,molecular weights, and are
generally polyalkylene glycol-based, or polyvinyl
 Widely different cooling rates can be obtained
by varying the concentration of Organic additives
in water; higher the additions, slower is the
cooling rate of solution.
 There are little dangers of distortions and

It is an ideal quenching medium for a steel of
not very large section but with good
Addition of O.3-O.5’% water almost doubles
the cooling capacity. Normally holding time is
2-4 minutes/cm of section thickness.
Salt baths used for austenitising keep the
steel clean.

 internal stresses are produced due to non-uniform
plastic deformation. In quenching of steels ,this may
be caused by thermal stresses, structural stresses, or
both, or even premature failure of part in service.
 Cooling during quenching lakes place non-uniformly,
i.e., causes temperature gradient across the section.
 Surface layers contract more than the central
 Contraction of surface is resisted by the central
portion, and this puts the central portion under the
compressive stresses, and the surface layers in
tension .
 If the magnitude of stress becomes more than the
yield stress of steel (at that deformation occurs.
 These stresses that develop in a quenched part as a
result of unequal cooling are called thermal stresses.
 Structural stresses are the stresses which develop due to
due to phase change (mainly austenite to martensite), and
at different times.
 Structural stresses are developed due to two main reasons:
1. Austenite and its transformation products have unequal
specific volume i.e. change in volume occurs when
transformation occurs.
2. Phase changes occur at different times in the surface and
in centre.
 Under right conditions, both types of stresses get
superimposed to become larger than the yield strength to
cause warping. but when the tensile internal stresses
become larger than the tensile strength cracks appear.
 If an austenitised steel is quenched, it contracts thermally
till Ms temperature is attained .

 figure(a) illustrates this in stage 1 As surface cools
faster than centre, i.e., contracts more than centre
distribution of stresses across the section is
illustrated in fig (b), i.e, the surface is under tensile
nature of stress, while centre is under compressive
 Only thermal Stresses are produced in stage 2 ,
surface having attained Ms temperature, transforms
to martenSite, and thus expands, while the centre is
still contracting as it is getting cooled.
 In stage Il, centre may get plastically deformed ,as it
is still ductile austenite.
 In stage 3, martensite of surface and austenite of
centre continue contracting leading to slight
increase in stress levels.

 In stage IV, centre has attained M5 temperature,
and begins to expand as it forms martensite,
while surface is still contracting.
 The centre, as it expands, puts the surface in
higher stress levels .
 The surface has little deformation as it consists
of brittle martensie.
 It is during this stage, the greatest danger of
cracking exists.
 Thus, stress levels are highest not in the
beginning of the quench, but when the centre is
transforming to martensite.
 However, higher is the Ms temperature of the
steel, lesser is the expansion, there is reduced
danger of quench-cracking.

 Increase of carbon and alloying elements lower
the Ms temperature making the steel more prone
to quench cracking.

 Martensitic transfomiation is essentially an athermal
 Austenite begins to transform to martensite at Ms, and the
amount of martensite formed increases as the temperature
decreases to complete at Mf temperature.
 Less than 1 % of austenite may not transform because of
unfavourable stress conditions.
 The Ms and Mf temperatures are lowered as the amounts of
carbon content and alloying elements(except cobalt and
aluminium) increase in the steel.
 In a quenched steel, the amount of martensite formed depends
on the location of Ms and Mf and the temperature of the coolant
(which is normally room temperature. As long as room
temperature lies between Ms and Mf temperatures, austenite
does not transform completely to martensite as it has not been
cooled below Mf temperature.
 This untransformed austenite is retained austenite.
 10% retained austenite is normally desirable as
its ductility relieves some internal stresses
developed during hardening. This reduces the
danger to distortion or cracks.
 The presence of 30-40% retained austenite
makes straightening of components possible
after hardening.
 Non distorting tools owe their existence to
retained austenite . It tries to balance
transformational volume changes during heating
as well as cooling cycles of heat treatment to
produce little overall change in size of the tools.

1) The presence of soft austenite decreases the
hardness of hardened steels.
2) As retained austenite may transform to lower
bainite, or martensite later in service ,increase
in dimensions of the part occurs.
3) This creates problems in precision gauges or
4) Stresses may develop in the part itself as well
as in adjacent pans. Grinding-cracks are mainly
due to retained austenite transforming to
5) Austenite is non-magnetic, decreases the
magnetic properties of the steels.
 Retained austenite is generally undesirable. It is
eliminated by one of the methods:
1. Sub-Zero treatment (cold treatment):
 It Consists of cooling the hardened steel (having
retained austenite) to a temperature below 0°C or its
Mf temperature.
 There is no reason to cool a steel much below its Mf
 Sub-zero treatment is more effective if it is done
immediately after the quenching operation (normally
done to room temperature).
 Sub-zero treatment is done in a low temperature-
cooling unit, which consists of double-walled vessel.
 The interior is made of copper in which the parts to
be deep-frozen are kept, and the exterior is made of
steel provided with good heat-insulation.
 The space in between the vessels is filled with
some coolant.
 The sub-zero coolants could be, dry ice (Solid
CO2) + acetone (— 78°C); Ice + NaCl (—23°C);
liquid air (—183°C); liquid N2 (— 196°C); Freon
(— 111°C).
 Total time of cooling in this unit is 1/2 to 1 hour.
 As this treatment transforms austenite to
martensite, steels after sub-zero treatment have
high hardness, wear and abrasion resistance, and
have no danger of grinding-cracks.

 The stresses are increased further and thus,
tempering should be done immediately after
sub-zero treatment.
 Carburised steels, ball-bearing steels, highly
alloy tool steels, are normally given cold

2. Tempering:
 The second stage of tempering eliminates the
retained austenite in most steels.
 In high alloy steels, multiple tempering is able
to eliminate the retained austenite during
cooling from the tempering temperature.

 The main defects produced during hardening
1. Mechanical properties not up to specifications:
 The common defect in hardened tools, or
component is too low a hardness.
 One or more of the followings could be the
cause of such a defect.
 Insufficient fast cooling due to overheated or
even polluted coolant could be responsible for a
 The presence of scale, or oil, etc. on the surface
also decreases the cooling rate.
 Circulation of coolant, or agitation of component
may also result in such defect.
 A shorter austenitising time can also cause such a
defect. Lower austenitising temperature can also
result in such a defect.
 Decarburisation can also result in low surface
hardness. If too high temperature had been used,
which produces larger amount of retained austenite
can result in low surface hardness.

2. Soft Spots:
 Soft areas on the hardened surface are called ‘soft
 The adhering scale, or decarburisation of some areas
or prolonged vapour-blanket stage due to overheated
coolant or insufficient agitation or circulation of
coolant, or rough surface could cause presence of
soft spots surface.
3. Quench Cracks:
 Quench cracks form as a result of internal stresses
developed of tensile nature exceeding the tensile strength
of the steel.
 Steel with lower Ms temperature due to higher contents of
alloying elements are more prone to quench cracks. Higher
carbon also results in more brittle martensite.
 Quench cracks can form if there is more time lag between
the process of quenching and tempering.
 Overheating of steel or a wrong coolant which gave much
faster rate of cooling, or there is faulty design of the
component with sharp corners and sharp transition
between sections, or a wrong steel has been chosen.
 Presence of large amounts of retained austenite causes
grinding cracks.
 The other defects could be distortion and warpage; change
in dimensions; oxidation and decarburisation

 Martensite is a very strong phase, but it is
normally very brittle so it is necessary to modify
the mechanical properties by heat, treatment in
the range 150—700°C.
 Essentially, martensite is a highly Supersaturated
solid solution of carbon in iron which, during
tempering, rejects carbon in the form of finely
divided carbide phases.
 The end result of tempering is a fine dispersion
of carbides in an α-iron matrix which often bears
little structural similarity to the original as-
quenched martensite.
In the as-quenched martensite structure,the
laths or plates are heavily dislocated to an
extent that individual dislocations are very
difficult to observe in thin-foil electron
A typical dislocation density for a 0.2 wt%
carbon steel is between 0.3 and 1.0 x 1012
cm cm-3. As the carbon content rises above
about 0.3 wt%, fine twins about 5—10 nm
wide are also observed.
Often carbide particles, usually rods or small
plates, are observed (Fig. 9.1).

 These occur in the first-formed martensite,
i.e. the martensite formed near Ms, which
has the opportunity of tempering during the
remainder of the quench.
This phenomenon, which is referred to as
autó-tempering, is clearly more likely to
occur in steels with a high Ms.
 On reheating as-quenched martensite, the
tempering takes place in four distinct but
overlapping stages:
 Stage 1, up to 250°C — precipitation of E-iron
carbide; partial loss of tetragonality in
 Stage 2, between 200 and 300°C —
decomposition of retained austenite .
 Stage 3, between 200 and 350°C — replacement
of &iron carbide by cementite; martensite loses
 Stage 4, above 350°C — cementite coarsens and
spheroidizes; recrystallization of ferrite.

 Martensite formed in medium and high carbon
steels (0.3—1.5 wt% C) is not stable at room
temperature because interstitial carbon atoms
can diffuse in the tetragonal martensite lattice
at this temperature.
 This instability increases between room
temperature and 250°C, when €-iron carbide
precipitates in the martensite (Fig. 9.2).
 This carbide has a close-packed hexagonal
structure, and precipitates as narrow laths or
rodlets on cube planes of the matrix with a well-
orientation relationship .

 At the end of stage 1 the martensite still possesses a
tetragonality, indicating a carbon content of around
0.25 wt%.
 It follows that steels with lower carbon contents are
unlikely to precipitate €-carhide.
 This stage of tempering possess an activation energy of
between 60 and 80 kJ mo1, which is in the right range for
diffusion of carbon in martensite. The activation energy
has been shown to increase linearly with the carbon
concentration between 0.2 and 1.5 wt% C.
 This would be expected as increasing the carbon
concentration also increases the occupancy of the
interstitial sites, i.e. the octahedral interstices at the mid-
points of cell edges, and centres of cell faces, thus
reducing the mobility of C atoms.

 During stage 2. austenite retained during
quenching is decomposed usually in the
temperature range 230-300°C.
 In martensitiC plain carbon steels below 0.5
carbon. the retained austenite is often below
2%, rising to around 6 % at 0.8 wt C and over 30
% at 1.25 wt C.
 The little available evidence suggests that in the
range 230-300°C, retained austenite decomposes
to bainitic ferrte and cementite, but no
detailed comparison between this phase and
lower bainite has yet been made.

 During the third stage of tempering, cementite
flrst appears in the microstructure as a
Widmanstatten distribution of plates which have
a well-defined orientation relationship with the
matrix which has now lost its tetragonality and
become ferrite.
 This reaction commences as low as 100°C and is
fully developed at 300°C, with particles up to
200 nm long and 15 nm in thickness.
 Similar structures are often observed in lower
carbon steels as quenched, as a result of the
formation of Fe3C during the quench.

 During tempering, the most likely sites for the
nucleation of the cementite are the €-iron
carbide irterfaces with the matrix (Fig 9.2) and
as the Fe3C particles grow, the €-iron carbide
particles gradually
 The twins occurring in the higher carbon
martensites are also site for the nucleation and
growth of cementite which tends to grow along
the twin boundaries forming colonies of similarly
oriented lath shaped particles (Fig. 9.3) which
can be readily ditinguished from the normal
Widmanstatten habit.

 A third site for the nucleation of cementite is
the grain boundary regions (Fig, 9.4)of both the
interlath boundaries of martensite and
the original austenite grain b0unjaries.
 The cementite can form as very thin films
which are difficult to detect but which gradually
sp1eroidise to give rise to welI-defined particles
of Fe3C in the grain boundary regions.
 There is some evidence to show that these.
boundary cementite films can adversely affect
ductility. However it can be modified by
addition of alloying elements.

During the third stage of tempering , the
tetragonality of thc matrix disappears and it
is then, essentially, ferrite, not
supersaturated with
respect to carbon.
Subsequent changes in the morpriology of
cementite particles occur by process where
the smaller particles dissolve in the matrix
providing carbon for the selective growth of
the larger particles.
During the third stage of tempering , the
tetragonality of thc matrix disappears and it
is then, essentially, ferrite, not
supersaturated with
respect to carbon.
Subsequent changes in the morpriology of
cementite particles occur by process where
the smaller particles dissolve in the matrix
providing carbon for the selective growth of
the larger particles.

 It is useful to define a fourth stage of tempering in
which the cementite particles undergo a coarsening
process and essentially lose their crystallographic
morphology, becoming spheroidized.
 It commences between 300 and 400◦C, while
spheroidizatiun takes place increasingly up to
 At the higher end of this range of tempera.
ture the martensite lath boundaries are replaced by
more equi-axid fèrrite grain boundaries by a process
which is best described as recrystallization.
 The final result is an equi-axed array of ferrite
grains with coarse spheroidized particles of Fe3C
(Fig. 9.5), partly, but not exclusively, by the grain
 The spherodisation of the Fe3C is encouraged by the
resulting decrease in surface energy.
 The particles which preferentially grew and spheroidize
are located mainly at interlath boundaries and prior
austenite boundaries, although some particles remain in
the matrix.
 The boundary sites are preferred because of the greater
ease of diffusion in these regions. Also, the growth of
cementite into ferrite is associated with a decrease in
density so vacancies are required to accommodate the
growing cementite.
 Vacancies will diffuse away from cementite particles which
are redissolving in the ferrite and towards cementite
particles which are growing, so that the rate controlling
process is likely to be the diffusion of vacancies.
 The original martensite lath boundaries remain stable up
to about 600°C, but in the range 350—600°C. there is
considerable rearrangement of the dislocations within the
laths and at those lath boundaries which are essentially
low angle boundaries.
 This leads to a marked reduction in the dislocation density
and to lath-shaped ferritic grains closely related to the
packets of similarly oriented laths in the original
 This process, which is essentially one of recovery, is
replaced between 600 and 700°C by recrystallization
which results in the formation of equi-axed ferrite grains
with spheroidal Fe3C particles in the boundaries and
within the grains.
 This process occurs most readily in carbon
 At higher carbon content, the increased
density of cementite particles is much more
effective in pinning the ferrite boundaries, so
recrystallisation is much more sluggish.
 The final process is the continued coarsening of
the cementite particles and gradual ferrite grain
 Firstly, the hardness of the as-quenched martensite is
largely influenced by the carbon content, as is the
morphology of the martensite laths which have a up
to 0.3 wt% C, changing at higher carbon contents.
 The Ms temperature is reduced as the carbon content
increases, arid thus the probability of the occurrence
of auto-tempering is less.
 During fast quenching in alloys with less than 0.2 wt
% C, the majority (up to 90%) of the carbon
segregates to dislocations and lath boundaries, but
with slower quenching some precipitation of
cementite occurs.
 On subsequent tempering of low carbon steels up to
200°C further segregation of carbon takes place. but
no precipitation has been observed.

 Under normal circumstances it is difficult to
detect any tetragonality in martensitic in steels
with less than 0.2 wt% C, a fact which can
explained by the rapid segregation of carbon
during quenching.
 The hardness change; during tempering are also
very dependent on carbon content, as shown in
figure for steels up to 0.4 wt% C.
 Above this concentration, an increase in
hardness has been observed in temperature
range 50—150°C, as €-carbide precipitation
strengthens the martensite.
 However, the general trend is an overall
softening, as the tempering temperature is
 The absence of other alloying elements means that the
hardenability of the steels is low, so a fully martensitic
structure is only possible in thin sections.
 However, this may not be a disadvantage where shallow
hardened surface layers are all that is required.
 Secondly, at lower carbon levels, the Ms temperature is
rather high, so autotempering is
likely to take place.
 Thirdly, at the higher carbon levels the presence
of retained austenite will influence the results.
 Added to these factors, plain carbon steels can exhibit
quench cracking which makes it difficult to obtain reliable
test results. This is particularly the case at higher carbon
levels, i.e. above 0.5 wt% carbon.
 The addition of allying elements to a steel has a
substantial effect on the kinetics of the y →α
transformation, and also of the pearlite reaction.
 Most common alloying elements move the TTT curves
to longer times, with the result that it is much easier
to miss the nose of the curve during quenching.
 This essentially gives higher hardenability, since
martensite structures can be achieved at slower
cooling rates and, in practical terms, thicker
specimens can be made fully martensitic.
 Alloying elements have also been shown to have a
substantial effect in depressing the Ms
 It is clear that certain elements, notably silicon
can stabilize the €-iron carbide to such an extent
that it is still present in the ‘microstructure
after tempering at 400°C in steels with 1-2 wt%
Si, and at even higher temperatures if the silicon
is further
 The evidence suggests that both the nucleation
and growth of the carbide is slowed down and
that silicon enters into the €-carbide structure.
 It is also clear that the transformation of €-iron
carbide to cementite is delayed considerably.

While the tetragonality of martensite
disappears by 300°C in plain carbon steels, in
steels containing some alloying elements,
e.g. Cr, Mo, W V, Ti, Si, the tetragonal lattice
is still observed after tempering at 450°C
and even as high as 500°C .
It is clear that these alloying elements
increase the stability of the supersaturated
iron-carbide solid solution.
In contrast manganese and nickel decrease
the stability.
Alloying elements also greatly influence the
proportion of austenite retained on
 Typically a steel with 4% molybdenum,
0.2%C, in the martensitic state contains less
than 2% austenite, and about 5% is detected
in a steel with 1% vanadium and 0.2%C.
The austenite can be revealed as a fine
network around the martensite laths, by
using dark field electron microscopy.
 On tempering each of the above steels at 300°C,
the austenite decomposes to give thin grain
films of cementite which, in the case of the
higher concentrations of retained austenite, can
be fairly continuous along the lath boundaries.
 It is likely that this interlath cementite is
responsible for tempered embrittlement
frequently encountered as a toughness minimum
in the range 300—350°C, by leading to easy
nucleation of cracks, which then propagate
across the tempered martensite laths.

 Alloying elements can also restrain the coarsening of
cementite in the range 400-700°C, a basic process
during the fourth stage of tempering.
 Several alloying elements, notably silicon, chromium.
molybdenum and tungsten, cause the cementite to
retain its fine Widmanstatten structure to higher
temperatures, either by entering into the cementite
structure or by segregating at the carbide-ferrite
 Whatever the basic cause may be, the effect is to
significantly the softening process during tempering.
 This influence on the cementite dispersion has
other effects, in so far as the carbide particles,
by remaining finer, slow down the reorganization
of the dislocations inherited from the
martensite, with the result that the dislocation
substructures refine more slowly.
 In plain-carbon Steel cementite particle begin to
coarsen in the temperature range 350 -400°C
and addition of chromium, silicon, molybdenum
or tungsten delays the coarsening to the range
 It should be emphasized that up to 500°C the
only carbides to form are those of iron.
 A number of the familiar alloying elements in
steels form carbides, nitrides and borides which
are thermodynamically more stable than
 It would therefore be expected that when
strong carbide elements are present in a steel in
sufficient concentration, their carbides would be
formed in preference to cementite .
 Nevertheless during the tempering of all ahoy
steels, alloy carbides do not form until the
temperature range 500-600°C , because below
this the metallic alloying elements cannot
diffuse sufficiently rapidly to allow alloy
carbides to nucleate.
 The metallic elements diffuse substitutionally, in
contrast to carbon and nitrogen which move through
the iron interstitially.
 With the result that the diffusivities of carbon and
nitrogen are of several orders of magnitude greater
in iron than those of the metallic alloying
 Consequently higher temperatures are needed for
the necessary diffusion of the alloying elements.
 It is this ability of certain alloying elements to form
fine alloy carbide dispersions in the range 500—
600°C, which remain very fine even after prolonged
tempering, that allows the development of high
strength levels in many alloy steels.
 Indeed, the formation of alloy carbides between
500 and 600°C is accompanied by a marked
increase in strength, often in excess to that of
the as-quenched martensite.

 This phenomenon, which is referred to as
secondary hardening, is best shown in steels
containing molybdenum, vanadium, tungsten,
titanium, and also in chromium steels at higher
alloy concentrations.
 This secondary hardening process is a type of
age-hardening reaction, in which a relatively
coarse cementite dispersion is replaced by a new
and much finer alloy carbide dispersion.

 On attaining a critical dispersion parameter, the
strength of the steel reaches a maximum, and
as the carbide dispersion slowly coarsens, the
strength drops.

The process is both time and temperature
dependent, so both variables are often
combined in a parameter:
P = T(k + log t)

T is the absolute temperature and
t the tempering time in hours,
while k is a constant which is about 20 for
alloy steels, usually referred to as the
Holloman-Jaffe parameter.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Annealed metals are relatively soft
and can be cut and shaped more easily. They bend easily
when pressure is applied. As a rule they are heated and
allowed to cool slowly.
The animation above shows that an annealed metal is
usually softer and can be deformed more easily than metals
that are not annealed.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Hardened metals are difficult to cut
and shape. They are very difficult if not impossible to
bend. As a rule they are heated and cooled very quickly by
quenching in clean, cold water.
The animation above shows that metals that have not been
annealed are very difficult to deform.
DIVYA -109MM0001