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Part 1 – What is it?
L. C. F. Canale
1
, N. I. Kobasko
2
and G. E. Totten*
3
Various intensive quenching processes have been reported since the 1920s. A historical overview
of these processes is given. Based on the limited information that has been published, it is likely
that many of these systems employed neither intensive quenching processing nor did they
produce maximum surface compressive stresses. The objective of the present paper is to define
intensive quenching, explaining how it could be used and its processes and advantages.
Keywords: Heat treatment, Hardening, Intensive quenching, Compressive, Surface residual stress
Introduction
Every metallurgist has been trained into thinking that
increasing cooling rates, especially in the martensitic
transformation region, leads to increasing potential for
cracking.
1
However, since the 1920s, there have been
various, often little known industrial heat treating
processes which have been designated as intense,
intensive, rapid, drastic, severe, or extreme quenching
or shell hardening methods.
2–8
Figure 1 illustrates the
uniform hardened case obtained by ‘shell hardening’ a
carbon steel shaft.
2
The essence of these methods is to harden less
hardenable steels using very fast cooling rates in order
to impart high compressive stresses and improved fatigue
properties to the quenched component.
8
Therefore, in
view of the classical training received by metallurgists,
why are these processes not accompanied by quench
cracking? In fact, what is intensive quenching?
In 1964, Kobasko published the ﬁrst of an extensive
series of papers in which he used the term ‘intensive
quenching’. His experimental data provided numerical
evidence that although it is true that increasing cooling
rates result in increasing propensity for cracking, as
historically recognised, there does exist a critical
cooling rate above which cracking propensity decreases
(Fig. 2).
9
Computer simulations were later used to validate and
to develop design methodologies.
10,11
Figure 3 illus
trates the results of one such intensive quenching
simulation performed and experimentally validated.
11
Note the uniform hardened case surrounding the
component and that the case depth is independent of
the section size.
In the present paper, an overview of the intensive
quenching process is provided. This discussion will
include the heat transfer criteria that deﬁne an intensive
quenching process. The use of intensive quenching in
forming maximum surface compressive stresses will also
be discussed here. Part 2 of the series will discuss in
greater detail the mechanism of residual stress formation
during intensive quenching.
Discussion
As a means of introducing the heat transfer mechanism
of intensive quenching, it is helpful to envision an
immersion quench of a simple cylindrical steel shape in
water. Figure 4 illustrates the three primary heat
transfer cooling mechanisms occurring during conven
tional immersion cooling in water: full ﬁlm boiling
(vapour blanket cooling), nucleate boiling and convec
tive cooling.
12
Each of these cooling mechanisms, which
coexist on the steel surface during the quenching pro
cess, is associated with very different heat transfer coef
ﬁcients a for full ﬁlm boiling a
FB
5100–250 W m
22
K
21
,
for nucleate boiling a
NB
510–20 kW m
22
K and for
convective cooling a
CONV
5,700 W m
22
K. The simul
taneous presence and relative stability of these widely
varying heat transfer conditions are a signiﬁcant factor
in inﬂuencing the nonuniform cooling and increased
stresses during a water quenching process.
A series of patents published from 1967 to 1971
5–7
describe a quenching process designated as ‘extreme’
or ‘drastic’. These processes utilised water or brine
and pressurised tanks (accumulators or ‘bladders’)
which delivered very high volumes of quenchant,
,3000 gal min
21
, to selected surface areas of the part
being quenched.
Morio reported that the objective in drastic quenching
was to quench the part using sufﬁciently high agitation
rates to eliminate ﬁlm boiling on the surface which
would provide a more uniform quench. The ‘critical
cooling rate’ for this process (drastic quenching) was the
cooling rate which is necessary to eliminate ﬁlm boiling.
The agitation rate/quench severity correlation used to
calculate the critical cooling rate was taken from the
traditional Grossmann quench severity data shown in
Table 1 (Ref. 8). According to Morio,
8
the practical
limit for water quenching was H51
.
5–2
.
0, unless high
pressure sprays were employed. Furthermore, it is
1
Universidade de Sa˜ o Paulo, Sa˜ o Carlos, SP, Brasil
2
Intensive Technologies Ltd. Kyiv, Ukraine
3
Associac¸a˜ o Instituto Internacional de Pesquisa, Sa˜ o Carlos, SP, Brasil
Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA
*Corresponding author, email GETotten@aol.com
ß 2007 IHTSE Partnership
Published by Maney on behalf of the Partnership
30 International Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering 2007 VOL 1 NO 1 DOI 10.1179/174951407X169196
impossible to tell what the agitation rate in a quench
tank is by visual observation, i.e. mild, moderate, good,
etc. This is further complicated by the fact that quench
tank agitation is notoriously nonuniform.
Intensive quenching differs from drastic or extreme
quenching, as deﬁned in the literature, in that during
intensive quenching only convective cooling occurs.
Thus heat transfer is limited by the thermal conductivity
of the steel. Another deﬁnition of intensive quenching is
a quenching process that produces ‘maximum surface
compressive stresses’.
13
Mei has taken the approach reported by Morio even
further by stating that an agitation rate sufﬁcient to
provide a Grossman quench severity value of .6
.
0 is
required to provide an intensive quenching process.
14
However, in addition to the limitations of the use of
Grossman Hvalues, the approach reported by Mei is
based on trial and error experimentation.
Heat transfer during quenching is described by the
Biot number
Bi~
a
l
R (1)
where a is the heat transfer coefﬁcient, l is the thermal
conductivity of the metal and R is the radius of the
cylinder, ball or halfthickness of a plate.
This equation means that heat transfer is proportional
to section size (thickness) of the metal being quenched and
the heat transfer coefﬁcient at the interface between the
cooling metal and the quenchant is inversely proportional
to the thermal conductivity of the metal. To obtain high
surface compressive stresses in an intensive quenching
process, the Biot number must be .18.
To more accurately relate the Biot number to size and
shape, the generalised Biot criterion Bi
V
is calculated from
Bi
V
~
a
l
L~
a
l
K
S
V
(2)
1 Representation of 25 kg shaft that was shell hardened:
surface compressive stresses were determined to be
.1034 MPa
2 Illustration of maximum cooling rate up to which pro
pensity for cracking of AISI 52100 bearing steel
increases; however, further increases in cooling rates
result in corresponding decrease in propensity for
cracking
3 Illustration of computer simulation results of intensive
quenching (IQ) through the crosssection of the com
ponent. (a) Room temperature before IQ (b)
Austenitizing temperature (c) Initial cooling resulting in
tension stress (d,e,f and g) Continuous cooling result
ing in very high compressive stress when component
achieves room temperature
Table 1 Grossmann quench severity for various quench
media
8
Agitation Oil Water Brine
None 0
.
25–0
.
30 0
.
9–1
.
1 2
.
0
Mild 0
.
30–0
.
35 1
.
0–1
.
1 2
.
0–2
.
2
Moderate 0
.
35–0
.
40 1
.
2–1
.
3
Good 0
.
40–0
.
50 1
.
4–1
.
5
Strong 0
.
50–0
.
80 1
.
6–2
.
0
Violent 0
.
80–1
.
10 4
.
0 5
.
0
4 Illustration of surface cooling mechanism of solid
stainless steel cylinder quenched in water
Canale et al. Intensive quenching: Part 1
International Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering 2007 VOL 1 NO 1 31
where the value L is the size characteristic and is
calculated from
L~
S
V
K (3)
where S is the surface area of the piece being quenched,
V is the volume of the piece being quenched and K is the
Kondratyev form coefﬁcient (shape factor) which may
be found in reference tables such as Table 2 (Ref. 15).
Another deﬁnition of intensive quenching is provided
by the Kondratyev number Kn which is deﬁned
numerically by
Kn~yBi
V
~
Bi
V
Bi
2
V
z1
:
437Bi
V
z1
_ _
1=2
(4)
Where y, the ﬁeld nonuniformity criterion, is deﬁned as
y~
 T
sf
{T
m
 T
V
{T
m
(5)
where T
sf
is the average temperature of the surface of
the component being quenched, T
m
is the temperature of
the quenchant and T
V
is the average temperature over
the volume of the component.
The value y can also be deﬁned in terms of the
generalised Biot criterion Bi
V
y~
1
Bi
2
V
z1
:
437Bi
V
z1
_ _
1=2
(6)
These equations indicate that:
(i) as Bi
V
R0, yR1 and T
sf
<T
V
. This means that
the temperature field on a body to be quenched is
uniform
(ii) if Bi
V
R‘, yR0 and T
sf
<T
m
which means that
the surface temperature of a body to be cooled is
the same as the quenchant temperature, upon
immersion into the quenchant. To accomplish
this, the relatively high amount of heat being
released from the surface of the metal to the
quenchant requires not only high agitation rates
but also high volume flow rates of the quenchant
to remove the heat as fast as it is being evolved
from the steel
(iii) if there is rapid cooling at the surface upon initial
immersion into the quenchant, it can be assumed
that the core temperature is essentially unchanged.
This is how one achieves a hardened case and
maximum surface compressive stresses.
A third deﬁnition of intensive quenching is that the
Kondratyev number for an intensive quenching process
will be 0
.
8(Kn(1. It is important to note that an
intensive quenching process can be interrupted at the
time when maximum surface compressive stresses are
formed (time quenching), which will occur at the so
called ‘optimal depth of hardened layer’. By using the
numerical relationships above, it is possible to control
the temperature gradient through the crosssection of
the component being quenched and to determine the
types of residual stresses that will occur.
Although a wide variety of time quench processes
have been developed, three are among the most
common: IQ1, IQ2 and IQ3:
(i) IQ1 is a two step process. In the first step, a part
is cooled slowly, (in an oil, aqueous polymer
solution or molten salt, etc.) to the martensite
start temperature, then intensively cooled until
the cooling process is complete.
10
In the first step
the austenite–martensite transformation is
delayed almost completely, so intensive cooling
is performed only within the martensitic range.
Here the temperature gradient is not large all
points of the crosssection uniformly reach the
martensite start temperature simultaneously
10,16
(ii) IQ2 also has two steps. In the first step, a part is
intensively cooled until the end of nucleate
boiling. Then the part is unloaded and air cooled
to allow equalisation of the temperature over all
crosssections. After this process, the part is
intensively cooled a second time until the cooling
is complete.
17,18
There is no nucleate boiling in
the second step
(iii) IQ3 is the most intensive process, because
nucleate boiling is completely prevented. Direct
convection is facilitated by intensive jets or water
flows until maximum surface compressive stres
ses are achieved. IQ3 can be applied to any parts
in which the maximum depth of hardness is
desired.
2,19–23
The depth of hardness can be
optimised by the proper selection of chemical com
position of the steel, to provide shell hardening.
Figure 5 illustrates the residual stresses formed on the
surface of a cylindrical test specimen as a function of the
generalised Biot number Bi
V
. As the quenching intensity
increases, the residual stresses also increase to a maxi
mum then decrease until they become compressive.
Table 2 Equations for calculation of Kondratyev shape factor for simple shapes
Shape of body K S/V(a)
Parallelepiped with sides L
1
, L
2
, L
3 L
2
1
zL
2
2
zL
2
3
_ __
p
2
2 L
{1
1
zL
{1
2
zL
{1
3
_ _
Cylinder of infinite size with height Z
5
:
783R
{2
z9
:
87Z
{2
_ _
{1
2 R
{1
zZ
{1
_ _
Sphere R
2
_
p
2
3=R
Wedge cut from cylinder
V
2
_
R
2
_ _
z p
2
_
Z
2
_ _ _ ¸
{1
2 R
{1
zZ
{1
z2R
{1
40
_ _
5 Residual hoop stresses at surface of solid cylindrical
test specimen versus generalised Biot number Bi
V
Canale et al. Intensive quenching: Part 1
32 International Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering 2007 VOL 1 NO 1
The optimal residual stress distribution in the
quenched steel part occurs at the ‘optimal depth of the
hardened layer’ which is deﬁned as
DI
D
opt
~const (7)
where DI is the ideal critical diameter or speciﬁc size and
D
opt
is the size of the steel part with the optimal stress
distribution.
The ideal critical diameter is deﬁned as
DI~

abt
M
Vzlnh
_ _
0
:
5
(8)
where a is the average thermal diffusivity (m
2
s
21
), t
m
is
the time for the core to cool from the austenitising
temperature to the martensite start temperature to yield
50% martensite, b is a shape dependent constant
obtained from a reference table (see Table 3), V is a
constant which equals 0
.
48 for a bar or cylinder and h is
deﬁned as
h~
T
0
{T
m
T
M
{T
m
(9)
where T
0
is the austenitising temperature, T
m
is the
quenchant bath temperature and T
M
is the martensite
start temperature.
Conclusions
In this brief overview, intensive quenching is deﬁned as a
heat transfer process and its corresponding impact on
cracking potential and residual stress is described. A
description of common time quenching processes
incorporating intensive quenching methodologies and
the deﬁnition of the optimal hardened layer has been
given. When properly designed, intensive quenching
processes can be used to replace a wide variety of oil and
aqueous polymer quenching processes thus providing
for substantially lower processing costs and lower
environmental impact relative to conventional quench
ing processes.
References
1. G. Beck: Mem. Etud. Sci. Rev. Metall., 1985, 82, 269–282.
2. R. F. Kern: Heat Treat., 1986, 18, (9), 19–23.
3. H. Kurz: US Patent 1828325, October 20, 1931.
4. R. H. Hays, J. E. Sansom and K. D. Gladden: US Patent 3506501,
April 14, 1970.
5. B. Paddock: US Patent 3517676, June 30, 1970.
6. R. H. Hays, J. E. Sansom and K. D. Gladden: US Patent 3589697,
June 29, 1971.
7. J. E. Sansom: US Patent 3515601, June 2, 1970.
8. A. Morio: Kinzoku Zairyou, 1977, 17, (3), 45–53.
9. N. I. Kobasko: Metalloved. Termich. Obrab. Metall., 1964, (2), 53–54.
10. N. I. Kobasko: in ‘Theory and technology of quenching’, (ed.
B. Liscic et al.), 367–389; 1992, Berlin, SpringerVerlag.
11. B. L. Ferguson, N. I. Kobasko, M. A. Aronov and J. Powell: Proc.
19th Heat Treating Society Conf., (ed. S. Midea and G. Pfaffmann),
355–362; 1999, Materials Park, OH, ASM International.
12. H. M. Tensi, A. Stich and G. E. Totten: in ‘Steel heat treatment
handbook’, (ed. G. E. Totten and M. A. H. Howes), 157–249; 1997,
Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press.
13. G. E. Totten, N. I. Kobasko, M. A. Aronov and J. Powell: Ind.
Heat., 2002, 69, (4), 31–33.
14. D. M. Mei: Proc. 7th Int. Cong. on ‘Heat treatment and technology
of surface coating’, Vol. 2, 62–71; 1990, Moscow, Vneshtorgizdat.
15. N. I. Kobasko, A. A. Moskalenko, G. E. Totten and G. M.
Webster: J. Mater. Eng. Perform., 1997, 6, (1), 93–101.
16. N. I. Kobasko and W. S. Morhuniuk: ‘Investigation of thermal and
stress state for steel parts of machines at heat treatment’, 24; 1981,
Kyiv, Znanie.
17. N. I. Kobasko: ‘Alloyed steel quenching method’, Patent of
Ukraine No. 27059, 2000.
18. N. I. Kobasko: Inventor’s Certificate No. 797243, Class C 21 1/56,
USSR.
19. N. I. Kobasko: ‘Method of quenching steel parts made of high
alloy steels’, Patent of Ukraine No. 4448, Information Bulletin
No. 61, 1994.
20. N. I. Kobasko: ‘Quenchants, results of science and engineering’,
Vol. 23, 127–166; 1989, Moscow, VINITI.
21. N. I. Kobasko: ‘Quenching apparatus and method for
hardening steel parts’, US Patent 6364974 B1, Docket No. 6949
1, 2000.
22. K. Z. Shepelyakovskii and B. K. Ushakov: Proc. 7th Int. Cong. on
‘Heat treatment and technology of surface coatings’, Vol. 2, 33–40;
1990, Moscow, Vneshtorgizdat.
23. N. I. Kobasko: Adv. Mater. Process., 1995, 148, (3), 42W–42Y;
1996, 150, (2), 40CC–40EE; 1998, 153, (2), 36FF–36HH; Dec. 1999,
H31–H33.
24. N. I. Kobasko: WSEAS Transactions on Systems, 2005, 4, (9),
1394–1401.
Table 3 Ideal critical sizes of DI various shapes made of AISI 1045 steel*
Part’s shape K, m
2
b DI, mm
Formula Number Martensite 99% Martensite
Unbounded plate L
2
1
_
p
2
p
2
9
.
87 13
.
9 19
.
7
Square plate L
2
5L
3
54L
1 8L
2
_
9p
2
1
.
125p
2
11
.
1 14
.
7 20
.
08
Round plate, 4Z5D 4Z
2
_
nz4p
2
_ _
n
2
0
z4p
2
_ __
4 11
.
3 14
.
9 21
Unbounded cylinder D
2
_
4n
2
0
4n
2
0
23
.
13 21
.
3 30
.
10
Unbounded parallelepiped L
1
5L
2
L
3
5‘ L
2
_
2p
2
2p
2
19
.
74 19
.
65 27
.
8
Finite parallelepiped L
1
5L
2
L
3
54L
1 L
2
_
2
:
06p
2
2
.
06p
2
20
.
36 20 28
.
2
Sphere D
2
_
4p
2
4p
2
39
.
5 27
.
8 39
.
3
Finite cylinder Z5D D
2
_
p
2
z4n
0
_ _
p
2
z4n
2
33 25
.
4 35
.
9
Cube, L
1
5L
2
5L
3 L
2
_
3p
2
3p
2
29
.
6 24
.
1 34
*n
0
is a root of the Bessel function, n
0
<2
.
405.
Canale et al. Intensive quenching: Part 1
International Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering 2007 VOL 1 NO 1 33
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