When working with metal parts and components over an extended period of time, the likelihood of running into problems increases. Depending upon the ways in which given parts are used, issues may occur after varying lengths of time. One common problem you can run into with your metal parts is what is called metal fatigue, which shows up as cracks in your parts or components. When this happens, you may need to seek out heat treatment in Gastonia, NC.
Metal fatigue is the name given to a condition that occurs in metal parts and components, caused by repeated loadings and unloadings, which cause sufficient stress on the metal to create a fracture in the metal. Typically, when the fracture appears, it seems to have been caused by routine load, or even one substantially weaker than would normally be considered excessive for the part in question. In other words, it’s a progressive form of damage. A fracture can be caused by a load or stress far lower than a typical overload.
Sometimes predictable, sometimes not
The fact that metal fatigue often appears without warning is one of its most dangerous aspects, and one of the things that makes metal fatigue a considerable source of frustration. Often, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to see cracks as they’re developing and growing. By the time a full fracture appears, the situation is serious and requires repair.
It’s also difficult to know for sure just how much stress will cause metal fatigue. The fatigue limit of a given part or component depends upon several key factors. The material itself, for example, makes a huge difference. For most materials, the fatigue limit is somewhere between 25 and 75 percent of the material’s tensile strength. Obviously, this is a large range, and other factors must also be considered.
One of these is the amount of stress or strain the material experiences. Simply put, the greater the strain, the less time it generally takes for fatigue to set in. Environmental factors also play a role. Metals that are only exposed to air are less likely to fatigue than metals that are submerged, and oxidized metals will likely experience fatigue more quickly than metals that haven’t oxidized.
Heat treatment for metal fatigue
Typically, one of the most useful treatments for fractures caused by metal fatigue is welding. A welder must take care to eliminate any and all traces of the fracture in order to perform a quality repair. After welding, many customers opt for heat treatment to return their parts or components to the hardness, ductility and strength desired, and to make sure those conditions are consistent throughout the component. The decision to conduct post-welding heat treatment depends upon the material type as well as the customer’s desires.
When you have questions about the condition of your metal parts and components, or if you have parts that are suffering from metal fatigue, contact J.F. Heat Treating Inc. We have been in business for nearly 35 years, and during that time have assisted numerous customers by providing necessary heat treatment in Gastonia, NC.