Heat Treatment of Metals

Heat Treatment 
Metallic materials consist of a microstructure of

small crystals  Crystals in a specific orientation make grains  Grain size and composition is one of the most effective factors that can determine the overall mechanical behavior of the metal  Heat treatment provides an efficient way to manipulate the properties of the metal by controlling rate of diffusion, and the rate of cooling and grain size and composition within the microstructure

Heat Treatment (contd) 
Involves controlled heating and cooling of the

metal or alloy  This imparts desirable physical characteristics due to change in microstructure  Improvements
o o o o

Toughness Hardness Resistance to shock Fatigue resistance 

Two broad categories o Heat treatment of ferrous metals o Heat treatment of non ferrous metals

brine. liquid nitrogen or air blast is used  Heat treatment may consist of more than one cycle . oil. magnesium. beryllium and titanium alloys can also be heat treated  Metal is heated to pre determined temperature and then quenched (cooling)  For quenching water. copper.Heat Treatment (contd)  Steel and its alloys are hardenable  Aluminum.

35% carbon steel is heat treatable  Wrought and cast Aluminum alloys which are precipitation-hardenable are termed as heat treatable  Non heat-treatable alloys depend primarily on cold work to increase strength  Heating to decrease strength and increase ductility (annealing) is used for both heat treatable and non heat treatable alloys . Approximately above 0.Heat Treatment (contd)  Carbon steel and its alloys heat treatment is governed by carbon content.

Steel Heat Treatment Processes  Six basic types of processes o Stress relieving o Hardening o Annealing o Case hardening o Surface hardening o Tempering .

Stress Relieving-Steel  Relieves the stresses developed in parts     due to cold work. machining or welding Parts heated to below critical temperature 1100-1200ºF Held at this temperature for 1 hr per inch of thickness Cooled slowly in still air at room temperature or in furnace .


Phase Diagram (Understanding Heat Treatment) .

Critical Temperature  Temperature at which steel will harden is called its critical temperature  Critical temperature depends on the type of alloy and carbon content (1400-2400°F)  After heating part is quenched in brine.Hardening-Steel  Part is heated to pre determined temperature. this brittleness needs to be reduced by Tempering or Drawing . water. oil or air blast o o o Water or brine is used to quench plain carbon steel Oil used to quench alloy steels Cold air blast is used for high alloy steel  Quenching leaves the steel hard and brittle.


Phase Diagram (Understanding Heat Treatment) .

Hardening Temperatures Carbon Steel .

Tempering or Drawing  Process reduces some of the brittleness of      hardened part Part is heated below critical temperature (3001300°F) and held until complete penetration is achieved Cooling is done in still air Internal stresses are relieved Toughness and impact resistance increases Hardness and strength reduces .


Phase Diagram (Understanding Heat Treatment) .


but non ferrous metals can also be annealed after they become work hardened .Annealing  Annealing reduces the hardness of the part to     make it easy to machine or work Metal is heated to 50-100°F above its critical temperature (normal hardening temperature) Holding time depends upon the shape and thickness of the piece Slow cooling is performed in some insulating material such as ashes or a furnace Primarily used for ferrous metals.

Annealing .

heated slightly above its upper critical temperature  Then cooled slowly to room temperature  Relieves stresses developed during o o o Machining Welding Forming .Normalizing  Process closely related to Annealing  Metal.


Case Hardening  Low carbon steel cannot be effectively hardened by conventional heat treatment  Part is heated to red heat and small quantity of carbon or nitrogen is introduced in its surface  This produces a hard shell on the surface  Following three methods o o o Pack method or carburizing Liquid salt method Gas method .

Pack Method or Carburizing  Part is buried in a carbonaceous material in a container  Container is placed in a furnace for 15-60 minutes  Time controls the depth of the case  After removal from the furnace part is quenched .


Liquid Salt Method  Part is heated in molten cyanide salt bath up to an hour  Cyanide is introduced in surface and immersion time determines the thickness of the hard case  After holding for desired time part is quenched .

Gas Method-Nitriding  Part is heated in a special airtight chamber  Ammonia gas is introduced at high temperature  Ammonia gas decomposes into nitrogen and hydrogen  Nitrogen enters the steel surface to form nitride  Surface becomes extremely hard .

Part Being Removed from Cyanide Bath .

Padlock Shackles Being Loaded in Nitriding Furnace .

Surface Hardening  Surface hardening is the process that permits the surface of high carbon and alloy steels to be hardened without affecting the internal structure of the metal  Three techniques o o o Flame Hardening: Surface is heated rapidly by flame of gas torch and then quenched Induction Hardening: Heating is performed by high frequency electrical current and then quenched Laser Hardening: 3.9 mm Laser beam focused on area to be hardened. Part does not get warped or distorted .2 to 15. Small area gets self quenched within few seconds.


to effect solid solution of alloying constituents and improve mechanical properties  Precipitation heat treatments.Aluminum Alloys Heat Treatment  Preheating or homogenizing. to soften strain-hardened (work-hardened) and heat treated alloy structures. and to stabilize properties and dimensions  Solution heat treatments. . to reduce chemical segregation of cast structures and to improve their workability  Annealing. to provide hardening by precipitation of constituents from solid solution. to relieve stresses.

Microstructure is homogenized .Preheating or Homogenization  This thermal operation is applied to ingots prior to hot working . and fabricating process involved o o Principal objectives is to improve workability The microstructure of most alloys in the as-cast condition is quite heterogeneous. product."ingot preheating´  Purposes depend upon the alloy.

to which it tends to revert  Lower-purity aluminum and commercial aluminum alloys undergo these structural changes only with annealing at elevated temperatures  Accompanying the structural reversion are changes in the various properties affected by cold working  These changes occur in several stages. annealed state. dislocated structure resulting from cold working of aluminum is less stable than the strain-free. according to temperature or time. and have led to the concept of different annealing mechanisms or processes.Annealing  The distorted. .

Precipitation of solute atoms either at room temperature (natural aging) or elevated temperature (artificial aging) .Aluminum Heat Treatment to Increase Strength  A three-step process o o o Solution heat treatment. Dissolution of soluble phases Quenching. Development of supersaturation Age hardening.

.Quenching  The most critical step in the sequence of heat treating operations  The objective of quenching is to preserve as nearly intact as possible the solid solution formed at the solution heat treating temperature. usually near room temperature. by rapidly cooling to some lower temperature.

Aluminum Copper Alloy .

with or without subsequent heat treatment. with or without subsequent strain hardening.Used for products that have been strengthened by heat treatment.Aluminum Heat Treatment Designations  F As Fabricated . hot working.This is the lowest strength.  W Solution Heat Treated .This is seldom encountered because it is an unstable temper that applies only to alloys that spontaneously age at ambient temperature after heat treatment.No special control has been performed to the heat treatment or strain hardening after the shaping process such as casting.  T Solution Heat Treated . highest ductility temper  H Strain Hardened . . or cold working.  O Annealed .(applied to wrought products only) Used for products that have been strengthened by strain hardening.

T7 .Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process.Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process.Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process and naturally aged to a substantially stable condition. artificially aged.Heat Treatment Temper Codes        T1 .Solution heat treated. and naturally aged to a substantially stable condition. then cold worked. T4 .Solution heat treated.  T9 . cold worked. T3 . T2 .Solution heat treated then artificially aged. and naturally aged to a substantially stable condition. cold worked. T5 .Solution heat treated.Solution heat treated. cold worked. cold worked. .Cooled from an elevated temperature shaping process then artificially aged. then artificially aged.  T8 . and naturally aged to a substantially stable condition. T6 .  T10 . then artificially aged.Solution heat treated then overaged/stabilized.

Strain Hardening Codes  H1 .Strain hardened and stabilized  H4 .Strain hardened and lacquered or painted. .Strain hardened and partially annealed  H3 .Strain hardened only  H2 .

Summary  Heat treatment basic concepts  Steel heat treatment Processes  Aluminum Heat Treatment Processes .

Questions? .

A material may be strong and tough if it ruptures under high forces. strength indicates how much force the material can support. Tests can be done by using a pendulum and some basic physics to measure how much energy it will hold when released from a particular height.Toughness and Strength     Toughness. in materials science and metallurgy. so that they are not tough. as in the Charpy and Izod impact tests. Generally speaking. Strength and toughness are related. By having a sample at the bottom of its swing a measure of toughness can be found. exhibiting high strains. Toughness is measured in units of joules per cubic metre (J/m3) in the SI system and inch-pound-force per cubic inch (in·lbf/in3) in US customary units. brittle materials may be strong but with limited strain values. It is defined as the amount of energy per volume that a material can absorb before rupturing. while toughness indicates how much energy a material can absorb before rupture. is the resistance to fracture of a material when stressed. . on the other hand.

 Shock resistance is the property by virtue of which material will withstand impact or thermal shock without failure  Fatigue resistance is related to number of stress cycle a material can take before failure .

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