Metal is generally thought to be a hard and unmalleable substance by the common man, but in fact, metallurgists and engineers know that this simply isn’t the case. In fact, by any professional standard of hardness, metal is actually quite soft! Moreover, metals come with all sorts of properties that may be desirable or undesirable, depending on the final application of that metal.
This is why various metallurgical procedures exist: to give metal the properties you required of it, including hardness. Based on your final application, your might end up subjecting your metal components to one or more heat treatments in Gastonia, NC, to make sure they’re fit and ready for the road ahead.
Take a look at some of the most common types of heat treatment and why you might need to subject metal to these processes:
- Annealing: As mentioned above, metal is soft. In fact, on the grand spectrum of hardness, metal is probably closer to dough than it is to our conception of just how something can be! Annealing is the process of heating a metal to high temperatures, then allowing it to cool slowly over time. The process of annealing takes the soft composition of metal and makes it much more durable internally, raising it to a standard that’s closer to what we believe metal to be colloquially.
- Normalizing: As the name might suggest, normalizing is a process of bringing a metal’s composition back to “normal.” What this refers to is alleviating internal stresses that might be caused by other metalworking processes. Normalizing improves ductility and toughness of metal, generally after cold-working.
- Hardening: Again, the name of this heat treatment in Gastonia, NC suggests its outcome… it’s going to make your metal harder! This is going to protect the surface of the metal from warping and wear and tear that can be the product of abrasive applications. The downfall of hardening by itself is that it tends to be superficial—it can make metal brittle.
- Tempering: Frequently used to combat over-hardening, tempering alleviates the brittle nature of metal and provides it with ductile properties. The temperature at which metal is tempered at determines how much hardness is alleviated and this process can actually change the color of metal to reflect the type and temperature of tempering administered!
When it comes to determining the desired properties of metal, you need to look at the final application before you select a heat treatment in Gastonia, NC. For example, if you’re going to be working with cold-weather tools, annealing is going to be a much required process, to strengthen a metal’s properties against induced cold. On the flip side, if you’re fabricating machinery parts for a production assembly, hardening will be required for reliable operation.
Not sure what type of heat treatment in Gastonia, NC your metal needs to serve its intended purpose? Consult with the metallurgical professionals at J.F. Heat Treating Inc. to learn more about your options and how they will best serve you.