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18.

1 PRINCIPLES OF HEAT TREATMENT

Heat treating is the controlled application of time and temperature to produce a predictable change
in
the internal structure of a material. Since the heat treatment process deals with changes to the
internal
structure of the material, it is often difficult to see the effects of heat treating. Often these changes
can
only be determined by physical, mechanical, or metallurgical testing. However, we can use the
model
of material science (Fig. 18.1) to help us to unlock the mystery of heat treatment by representing
the
technology as a series of interlocking rings underscoring the interdependence of each element in
the
model.
The model can be interpreted two ways as indicated by the arrows. An engineering-based
methodology
(down arrow) uses this model by considering the needs of the end user: that is, the consideration
of the performance demands of a specific product which requires the design engineer to select
a material having certain mechanical, physical, and metallurgical properties. These properties can
only be developed in the selected material by producing a specific microstructure that defines a
particular
heat treatment process or series of processes. The science-based methodology (up arrow)
begins with material selection that requires a specific process or series of processes to be
performed
to produce a predicted microstructure in the material that determines the mechanical, physical,
and metallurgical properties which ultimately define the end use performance capability of the
product.
What is clear from either use of this model is that the manufacture of any product depends to a
great extent on heat treating, a core competency. Its contribution is vitally important for cost
control,
durability, and reliability. Heat treating represents a significant portion of the total manufacturing
cost. If not properly understood and controlled, it can have a significant impact on all aspects of
the
manufacturing process.
For heat treatment to thrive in the twenty-first century it must be the most price- and
performancecompetitive
technology. The areas of emphasis today are