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Quenching

Medina Kaknjo
Technical Expert-Heat Treat
PTO Supplier Technical Assistance
Global Purchasing

Mystery around Quenching


Black art, surrounded by
fumes, fire, mystery and
intrigue
The quenching process
takes only a few seconds
Often neglected or
considered a low priority
Can result in inadequate
hardness, excessive
distortion or scrapping of
costly machined
components, together
with the environmental
problems of smoke, fumes
and fire hazards

Oil quenching of critical aerospace components

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Mystery around Quenching (cont.)

Fire Hazard during oil quenching

After conversion to Aqua-Quench polymer


quenchant

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Quenching fundamentals
Heat

treatment can be defined as an


operation or combination of operations
involving the controlled heating and cooling
of a metal in the solid state for the purpose
of obtaining specific properties.
Quenching of steel involves the rapid
cooling of austenite to transform it into the
hard structure martensite. This is generally
achieved by cooling at a sufficiently fast rate
to avoid the formation of soft constituents in
the steel (pearlite and bainite).
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Iron Carbon Phase Diagram

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Fe-C Phase diagram (%C<=1.00)


6

1650

Austenite-FCC

4
3
Ferrite & Austenite
1
2

Ferrite

1320

Ferrite-BCC & Iron Carbide


(Pearlite Or Spheroidite)

1100

950
700
Temp

10

200

11
0.83

Carbon content

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TTT Diagram

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Quenching

Quenchants include (slowest to fastest):

Forced Air
Forced Nitrogen Gas
Agitated Oil
Polymer
Water
Salt Water

Factors that influence type of the


quenchant to be used are:

Grade(hardenability) of the metal to be


quenched
Desired physical and mechanical properties
Mass of the metal being quenched

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Quenching (cont.)
Higher

agitation and lower quench media


temperature, higher the cooling rate
Higher the cooling rate, higher the hardness
Quenching methods: Bath, Spray, Selective
Distortion is reduced by reducing difference of
quench temperature and the part temperature
More space between racked components, more flow
and contact, higher the cooling rate
Pure chemistry of the quench medium the better the
quench prediction and quality

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Hardenability
Surface

Core

Hardness

Distance

Hardenability-The ability of a ferrous alloy to form martensite when quenched from a temperature
above the upper Critical temperature. It describes how much hardness is obtained at various depths
below surface of a grade of steel once it has been subjected to hardening under specific conditions.
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How to address lack of through hardening?


By increasing

the
hardenability of the
component by the use
of a steel with higher
alloy content

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How to address lack of through hardening? (cont.)


By

increasing the
quenching speed so that
the cooling rate at the
center of the component
exceeds the critical
cooling rate. This can be
achieved, for example,
by changing from a
normal speed
quenching oil to a high
speed accelerated
quenching oil (Fig. 4) or,
if using a polymer
quenchant, by reducing
the concentration of the
solution.

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How to address lack of through hardening? (cont.)


Quenching

speed
influences hardness
and mechanical
properties
With a normal speed oil,
hardness decreases
rapidly below the
surface due to the
formation of pearlite
and bainite
With a high speed oil,
the critical cooling rate
is exceeded to a much
greater depth below the
surface, resulting in an
improved hardness
profile
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Summary on through hardening

Steel

composition, component section


thickness, and type of quenchant all have a
major influence on the properties obtained in
the heat-treated component.

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The mechanism of Quenching


Regardless of the type of
quenchant being
used, cooling generally
occurs in three
distinct stages:
1.) Vapor phase
2.) Boiling phase
3.) Convection phase

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The mechanism of Quenching (cont.)


Stage 1. Vapor Phase
Phase

Stage 2. Boiling Phase

Stage 3. Convection

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Quenching process with normal speed quenching oil

The moment of immersion vapor


film around component (stage 1).

After 5 seconds boiling commences at


the corners of the component (stage 2).

After 10 seconds the boiling front


moves along the component.

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Quenching process with normal speed quenching oil


(cont.)

After 15 seconds showing vapor, boiling


and convection phases.

After 30 seconds convection phase


(stage 3).

After 60 seconds completion of


convection phase.

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Cooling curve

Fig. 8. Temperature-time cooling curve and differential cooling curve


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Cooling curve (cont.)

Temperature-time cooling curve on CCT diagram.

The effect of agitation on the


quenching characteristics of a normal
speed oil.

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Example: IVF Quenchotest

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Water solutions
Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Inexpensive Nontoxic
Readily available No smoke or
fumes
Easy to handle No cleaning
required prior to tempering or
subsequent processing
No health and safety hazards
Easy to pump and filter
Nonflammable Easy to control
bath temperature by continuous
supply of fresh water
No fire hazard Not influenced by
water contamination (e.g., leaking
coolers or condensation)

Corrosive to quench tank, fixtures and


fittings
Supports microbiological growth
Poor quenching characteristics
Very fast quench

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Temperature dependence for water solutions

The effect of temperature on the quenching


characteristics of water.

The effect of temperature on the quenching


characteristics of water.

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Questions/Comments

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