Metallurgy Terminology for Beginners

To those new to the idea of metallurgical services in Gastonia, NC, a lot of the terminology that’s thrown around might be confusing and/or foreign altogether. At the end of the day, all most people really know is that they want their metal treated to be more resilient—they’re not sure about the process, the technique or the terminology surrounding it all.

In an effort to help people better understand metallurgical services in Gastonia, NC, we’ve put together a few simple terms that you might find handy when learning more about how your metal is being treated:

Carburizing: This method of making a metal more resilient revolves around heating iron or steel in such a way that it absorbs carbon, thereby reinforcing the structure of the material. For example, if charcoal is heated in tandem with iron, the iron will absorb the liberated carbon materials from the charcoal to become stronger. The longer the metal is heated and the higher the temperature, the more depth involved in the carburizing process. The metal is rapidly cooled when the process is finished, creating a surface that’s tremendously reinforced, while the core remains strong, yet soft.

Annealing: Annealing is primarily used to improve the ductility of a material, while also softening it, relieving any internal stresses, refining the structure of the metal and improving its cold working properties. The process takes three stages to complete: recovery, recrystallization and grain growth. Typically, large heating chambers or ovens are used to perform annealing. Annealing is one of the oldest metallurgy practices in the industry (along with carburizing) and can be used in a number of applications to improve the workability of a metal component.

Normalizing: A subjugation of the annealing process, normalizing is generally applied to ferrous metals to fine-tune the grain of the component and reduce the brittleness that can occur during the grain growth process. This process can also improve the machinability of the metal being treated, allowing it to be further tailored to a certain application after it’s been treated.

Precipitation strengthening: Used to increase the high-heat strength of a metal alloy, this is another form of heat-treating that is used to strengthen non-ferrous alloys (and some ferrous). During this process, small particulates form (called precipitates) over time, lending themselves to the overall strength of the alloy. This technique is commonly used in industrial applications, such as the fabrication of airplane parts.

Differential heat treatment: This practice is fairly straightforward and involves the rapid heating of an alloy, with variable cooling to increase the resilience of the metal. This practice originates from blacksmithing, wherein the metal is tempered to remain strong and not brittle.

These are just several of the most commonly used practices in the world of metallurgical services in Gastonia, NC—the full gamut of terminology is far to expansive to cite in a single post! And, while these methods for treating metal might not seem like they hold much variance to the normal person, a metallurgical professional understands their applications and effects perfectly, giving you the best results for your specific need.

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