An Overview of Terminology for Heat Treatment in Gastonia, NC

When ordering heat treatment in Gastonia, NC, it is important to use terminology consistently to ensure you secure the results you require. Even people who have been in the industrial equipment or machine shop sectors for years tend to mix up their vocabulary when it comes to heat treatment, so this is not uncommon. This overview will help you maintain this vocabulary better and ensure you request the correct process for your components.

  • Aging: Aging adds a time-temperature dependency in certain alloys. The end product has a solubility that decreases when temperatures drop. Each alloy subjected to aging will have its own range of time-temperature combinations that generate a response.
  • Annealing: Annealing is the process of heating an element to a certain temperature, holding it there and then cooling it at another pre-determined rate. This will change the properties and composition of materials, often leading to vast improvement in its application. Annealing can making machining easier, help components conduct electricity and increase stability.
  • Baking: Sometimes, in order to secure the correct properties, heating and then cooling will not suffice. Baking maintains components at a low heat temperature, which will remove entrained gases.
  • Normalizing: This process is reserved for iron-based alloys. It involves heating the component above transformation range and air cooling it at room temperature. The purpose is to remove internal stress that often arises from heat treating in order to prevent future metal failure.
  • Preheating: Tool steels and other heavy materials are heated to an appropriate temperature before being subjected to further heat treating. This is performed when the material is resistant to heat treating attempts. Metallurgical tests can determine whether your component requires preheating before continuing to other heat treatment processes.
  • Quenching: Quenching is the cooling step in heat treatment. Just like with heating, the cooling rate will determine the properties of the material. There are different types of quenching, and choosing one depends on the future application. They include direct, fog, hot, interrupted, selective, slack, spray and time quenching. Each type offers a different rate of cooling appropriate to the application.
  • Stress relieving: Stress relieving occurs after quenching, normalizing, machining, cold working, welding or casting. It is the step that relieves the internal stresses that could compromise functioning later. The process heats the item to its needed temperature and holds it until stress elements decrease. This is often important for heavy machinery parts and other applications that need to stand up to high loads and stress.
  • Tempering: This step occurs after quenching when that process causes greater internal strain. It draws out impurities through heating and then hardens the steel. Once completed, the properties of the steel or its alloy will change to better fit its purpose. Like stress relieving, this is often applied to heavier duty applications.

J.F. Heat Treating Inc. knows that heat treatment in Gastonia, NC is often highly customized due to the unique properties of steel and other alloys. We will take an individual approach to each project to ensure that we provide the process that will work for your purposes. Call us today for expert guidance through your heat treatment needs.

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