There are many different types of heat treatment. Each is a different process that is meant to result in a different outcome for the metal. All of our services, from annealing to carburizing, are performed by highly trained professionals. This process is very intricate, and also one of our most popular, because it’s so effective. Before you decide you’d like to bring your metal in for carburizing in Gastonia, NC let’s learn more about what it is.
What is carburizing?
Carburization, also known as case hardening, is a heat treatment process in which a piece of steel or iron is introduced to carbon when the metal is at a specific temperature. Once the carbon is added, and the new metal is cooled, the outside surface of the metal will be more resistant to wear and tear. At the same time, the metal will keep its original toughness and strength in its inside core.
What are some common carburizing methods?
As you could probably guess, carburizing in Gastonia, NC doesn’t just happen randomly overnight, nor is it a process that anyone off the street can perform. The process takes several hours to complete and is something that needs to be done by a professional. Over the years, advances in technology have made carburizing a more efficient process through four different methods:
- Pack carburizing: In this method of carburizing, a piece of metal is completely “packed” by charcoal powder or iron shavings—two of the most basic forms of carbon. Once the metal is coated with charcoal, it’s heated in a furnace for 12 to 72 hours at about 1,650 degrees. The amount of time the metal spends in the furnace depends on its size and thickness. The metal absorbs the carbon in this process, effectively hardening the surface.
- Gas carburizing: This method is fairly similar to pack carburizing. However, the problem of maintaining the temperature in the furnace during pack carburizing is eliminated. In gas carburizing, a piece of metal is placed in a container that is full of a carbon-heavy gas. When the container is heated, the carbon in the gas sticks to the metal and the process is complete. It’s highly effective for large pieces of metal.
- Vacuum carburizing: During vacuum carburizing, metal is placed in an oxygen-free, low-pressure container. Once the pressure reaches a certain level, a carbon gas is introduced to the container. Again, the carbon adheres to the metal and effectively carburizes it. Vacuum carburizing takes less time than other methods, so it’s great to use if a technician is in a time crunch.
- Liquid carburizing: Without a doubt, liquid carburizing is the most dangerous method of carburizing. This process involves dipping metal into liquefied carbon. Cyanide is one of the materials in these vats, only adding to its danger levels. The liquid carbon eventually allows for carburization, resulting in a case similar to that formed by gas carburizing.
Give J. F. Heat Treating Inc. a call to learn more about carburizing in Gastonia, NC and other heat treatment services we’re able to provide!