When heat treating metal as a part of your manufacturing processes, there are certain considerations you should keep in mind to ensure you are getting the job done correctly for your specific application.
Here are a few of those considerations.
The results you get depend on the method of heat treatment
During heat treatments in Gastonia, NC, you are using heat to alter the physical (and occasionally chemical) properties of a specific type and piece of metal. There are many reasons you may consider heat treating, but it’s important to know that depending on the type of method you are using, you could see different results for the same type of material. Your metal could become either harder or softer, stronger or weaker, or more or less brittle. You may need to use several repetitions of the same treatment or several treatment methods to get the desired results.
Therefore, it takes some planning to ensure your end result is exactly what your had in mind. Make sure you have done your research ahead of time about how your material will react to certain types of heat treatments.
You should not get annealing and heat treating confused
Many people use the terms “annealing” and “heat treating” interchangeably. However, annealing is just one type of heat treating—sort of like how a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square. Annealing is a specific process used to increase the ductility of a metal while decreasing its brittleness. It can be used to restore stainless steel to its original condition before using it in other applications.
Atmosphere can be everything when it comes to heat treating
The atmosphere in which the heat treating process occurs can be important, as it can have an impact on the strength and surface of the material. Tungsten, for example, could be oxidized if heat treated in a normal atmosphere, which could create a porous surface finish. If you perform the same treatment in a vacuum or other controlled environment, however, you would be able to avoid those results.
Heat treating and alloy composition can affect each other
Just as heat treating can change the composition of alloys in your material, the composition of alloys in your material could determine the type of heat treating process you use. For example, the shape memory property of a nickel titanium alloy (NiTi) depends heavily on heat treating, which allows it to undergo deformation at a specific temperature and then recover its original shape at another temperature. At the same time, the substance is extremely difficult to make, because of its alloy composition’s ability to affect transformation temperature.
Keep these considerations in mind the next time you seek out heat treatments in Gastonia, NC for your materials. For more information about heat treatments, including methods, best practices and other tips and tricks, we encourage you to reach out to our team at J.F. Heat Treating Inc., and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.