Hardenability of Steel

Jared Christian B. Paz Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering University of the Philippines Diliman MatE 113 WWX

Abstract
The Jominy End Quench Test is a common method used to measure the hardenability of steel. It is done by heating a steel sample to its austenitizing temperature and quenching one end of the sample with a given quenching medium. In this experiment, three types of steel were used: AISI 1020, 1045 and 4140.The specimens were mounted on a Jominy end quench fixture and one end was quenched using tap water. The microstructures and the Rockwell Hardness values of the specimens were determined. Then, the hardenability curve for each type of steel was obtained. It was observed that as the distance from the quenched end increased, the hardness and the martensite present in the region being measured decreased. Also, as the amount of martensite decreased, the amount of ferrite and pearlite in the microstructure increased. Alloying elements and factors such as austenitizing temperature and quenching medium are also significant in determining the hardenability of the steel samples.

1. Introduction:
Hardenability is a property that measures the metal’s ability to harden under a given heat treatment process. It measures the depth of hardness of a metal when subjected to the said heat treatment process. When steel is heated above its recrystallization or austenitizing temperature and then quenched, its hardness increases due to the formation of martensite (a hard, brittle and needle-like crystal structure). The rate of formation of martensite determines the steel’s hardenability. Each type of steel alloy has a unique relationship between the formation of martensite and cooling rate. A standard method to determine hardenability is the Jominy end quench test. It involves heating a round steel sample above its austenitizing temperature and quenching the sample with tap water at one end. For this experiment, the hardenability of different steel alloys was determined using the Jominy end quench test. Hardenability of Steel, JC B Paz, 2007-63299 2. Methodology: For this experiment, three types of steel were used; plain carbon steel AISI 1020 and AISI 1045, and low alloy steel AISI 4140. For each type of steel, a 4-inch specimen with a 1-inch diameter was used. The specimens were placed inside a furnace set to a temperature 100oF above the upper critical temperature. The specimens were kept at a constant temperature for one hour. Then the samples were immediately taken out of the furnace and placed firmly in the Jominy end quench fixture. The quenching water had a temperature at 75oF and issued out of a 0.5 inch orifice with a free height of 2.5 inches.

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400. 1/8 inch intervals for the second inch. 2nd and 3rd inch regions were taken.Figure 1. 80. 320. are at 200x magnification. the Rockwell Hardness readings were taken at 1/16 inch intervals for the first inch. 2007-63299 Page 2 . For the grinding process. 8 grades of sandpaper were used. 1020 Steel 1st Inch region The specimen remained at the set-up for 20 minutes. 220. 800 and 1200. coarse then fine polishing was performed until a mirror-like finish was achieved. Hardenability of Steel. A specimen was polished and etched again if the specimen was over-etched or under-etched. except for Figures 7 to 9. polishing and etching. The specimens were then cooled to room temperature. JC B Paz. and ¼ inch intervals for the remaining length. Then. Results: All photomicrographs presented. 600.4mm deep and 1 cm wide were grinded along the specimen length (one flat was on the side opposite to the other flat). Two parallel shallow flats about 0. For the polishing process. The photomicrographs at the 1st. Figure 2. 1020 Steel 2nd Inch Region Figure 3. The specimens were then etched using a 2% Nital solution to reveal the microstructures. 1020 Steel 3rd Inch Region 3. One flat was metallographically prepared by grinding. 120.

4140 Steel 3rd Inch Region (500x) Hardenability of Steel. 4140 Steel 1st Inch Region (500x) Figure 5.Figure 4. 1045 Steel 3rd Inch Region Figure 9. JC B Paz. 2007-63299 Page 3 . 1045 Steel 2nd Inch Region Figure 8. 4140 Steel 2nd Inch Region (500x) Figure 6. 1045 Steel 1st Inch Region Figure 7.

67 45.Table 1.33 47.50 70.00 28.33 53.67 28.67 59.00 22.67 23.67 22.67 22.00 51. Region 1 2 3 4 Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 First Inch 58 62 62 72 69.33 54.33 25.5 47 52 45 45.5 67.00 45.67 30.5 67 70 70 70 66.5 48 56 60 60 60 55.67 27.5 48 35 46 43 49 64 60 59 56 54 59 58 56 51.00 59.00 26.67 61.33 24.67 20.00 21.67 66. Region 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Trial 1 59 52 49 64 63 61 60 65 65 64 65 Trial 2 Trial 3 First Inch 59 61 63 62 66 63 62 65 67 65 68 65 67 67 66 67 66 64 67 60 63 63 Average 59.5 56 55 53 65 66 50 54 48.00 53.5 50.67 46. 2007-63299 .67 27.67 30.5 49.5 50.33 23.50 49.33 29.5 48 Second Inch 50.67 29.00 54.33 Table 3.33 63.67 65.00 64.00 63.00 68.00 51.67 29.5 50 51 54 49.5 43 39.67 59. Rockwell Hardness Values for 1020 Steel. Rockwell Hardness Values for 4140 Steel.00 45.00 52.5 48.67 29.67 21.00 53.67 64.5 51 47 50 Third Inch 44 39 43 49 46 45. JC B Paz.67 63.67 Page 4 Table 2.5 43 52 50 61.5 51 55 56 56 54 56 51.00 Hardenability of Steel.50 50.83 51.83 44.50 54.33 27.67 21.67 29.33 23.00 48.5 46 49 Fourth Inch 45 44 43.33 58.00 20.67 52. Region 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Trial 1 30 26 29 30 30 29 29 29 28 28 25 24 24 24 26 22 23 23 22 23 21 21 22 21 21 20 20 20 21 23 Trial 2 Trial 3 First Inch 19 30 27 29 30 30 29 30 30 30 30 30 29 31 31 32 28 30 29 30 27 28 30 27 29 30 29 28 30 29 27 27 Second Inch 25 25 25 23 23 23 24 22 24 23 23 23 24 24 24 23 Third Inch 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 22 Fourth Inch 21 21 19 18 Average 26.83 53.5 54 53 56 54 56 52 53.00 42.33 22.67 69.5 70 Average 60.33 44.00 29.5 49.00 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 60 56 58 50 50 42 49 50 47. Rockwell Hardness Values for 1020 Steel.00 27.00 65.

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 63 61 60 60 58 56 59 56 57 53 55 51 52 51 46 51 41 48 52 52 50 64 62 61 61 60 Second Inch 60 59 58 57 58 56 56 55 Third Inch 55 53 54 54 Fourth Inch 48 52 48 47 61 60 60 61 59 57 58 53 52 55 53 55 54 52 55 55 55 52 48 50 50 62.67 61.33 50. transforms into martensite. along with the trapped carbon atoms.177x + 29. From the Jominy end quench test.33 54. the cooling Page 5 Figure 10.00 60. the quenched end had the most amount of martensite present and as the distance from the quenched end increases. Discussion: Based from the photomicrographs obtained.67 55. When cooled. Depending on the cooling rate.44 (red) *blue = 1045 steel red = 1020 steel green = 4140 steel Hardenability of Steel.00 49. Plot of Hardness (HRC) versus Distance from Quenched End (inch). The rate of change in temperature required for diffusion is called the critical cooling rate. the carbon atoms will not be given enough time to diffuse out of the austenite phase. 80 70 60 y = -4.67 59. it can be seen that the cooling rate of certain regions of the specimens decreases as the distance from the quenched end increases thus.242x + 63. the hardness of a measured region is inversely proportional to the distance from the quenched end. JC B Paz. 2007-63299 . Pearlite and ferrite formation involves diffusion of carbon atoms from the austenite phase.89 (green) 50 y = -5.67 55. Since only one end of the heated metal is being quenched. Since martensite is significantly harder than the ferrite-pearlite mixture.00 53.33 55. the amount of martensite present in the microstructure decreases while the amount of ferrite and pearlite increases. explaining the characteristics of the obtained microstructures.00 57. steel in its austenite phase can either transform to martensite or a mixture of pearlite and ferrite.33 50. The Rockwell Hardness value is also inversely proportional to the distance from the quenched end.67 50.00 49.67 52.49 (blue) 40 30 20 10 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 y = -3. The Jominy End Quench Test is the most common method of determining the hardenability of steel because of its simplicity and ease of performance. the austenite phase. which takes time.00 4. To determine the hardenability of steel.33 60. If the specimen’s cooling rate is faster than its critical cooling rate.67 58. The Rockwell Hardness values obtained also showed the same pattern that the amount of martensite in the microstructures showed. two parameters are needed: cooling rate and hardness.33 53. it can be seen that for all samples.67 54.67 51.084x + 61.

industrialheating.html. 4140 steel has greater hardenability than 1045 steel since 4140 steel is made for hardenability and machinability [5] while 1045 steel is made for strength and hardness [6]. alloying elements improves the hardenability of steel by slowing down ferrite and pearlite formation which. W. JC B Paz.au/documents/Atlas4 140. The hardness of the steel sample can be obtained by performing a hardness test.. ASTM Annual Book of Standards. 2007. Theoretically. New York. John Wiley & Sons. 3) Factors such as the austenitizing time and quenching medium have an effect on the hardenability curve obtained. 6. 2012.. 2012. http://www.net/martensite.. 2007-63299 Page 6 . From Figure 10.. 2012. 2) Alloying improves the hardenability of steel. References: [1] Callister. Recommendations: The next observers are recommended to do the following: 1) Make sure that the steel samples are properly placed in the Jominy end quench fixture to avoid uneven quenching. 2004.com/materials/alloys/carbon_ steels/show_carbon. Accessed Mar 13. it can be seen that the 1045 steel had the highest hardenability followed by 4140. [5] “Atlas Specialty Metals”. D. providing a more accurate hardenability curve while lowering the austenitizing temperature and using oil as a quenching medium will decrease the accuracy of the hardenability curve obtained.pdf.atlassteels. [4] “Hardness and Hardenability . in turn. 2003. Inc. http://www. 5.com.. The McGraw-Hill Companies. Conclusions: The following conclusions were made: 1) the hardness values and amount of martensite present in the microstructure are inversely proportional to the distance from the quenched region.com/Articles/Colu mn/BNP_GUID_9-52006_A_10000000000000379772.threeplanes. http://www. Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction 7th Ed. Accessed Mar 13. The discrepancies in the obtained data were due to experimental errors. [3] “Martensite”. [7] Standard Specification for Carbon and Alloy Steel Bars Subject to End-Quench Hardenability Requirements. then 1020 steel. http://www. [6] “AISI 1045”. [2] McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms 6th Ed. Lengthening the austenitizing time will produce more martensite. making martensite formation easier and possible at lower temperatures. ASTM Designation A304. In general. Accessed Mar 10.Part Two: A Discussion on Hardenability and Hardenability Testing”. 7. Inc. 2012. Hardenability of Steel.cfm?ID=AISI_1045&prop= all&Page_Title=AISI%201045. Accessed Mar 10.efunda.rate differs at different parts of the steel sample.

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