Why Is Stress Relieving an Important Step in Metal Heat Treatments?

When fabricating metal parts, they often go through several heat treatments—and that’s after they’ve already been machined, cut, rolled or welded. Each stage of fabrication leaves a piece of metal with added stress. All of the forces that act on it to form and treat it accumulate, and with each successive heat treatment they’re liable to be expelled. To prevent this, stress relieving in Gastonia, NC is an important step in the road to a finished product.

Understanding Stress Relief

Think of stress relief for metals like you would for yourself. If you wake up late for work, accidently spill coffee on yourself, forget about a project deadline and lose your car keys all in the same day, it’s safe to say you’re going to have some pent-up stress! All it takes is for someone to say the wrong thing to you and you might bite their head off. Everything that wound you up comes roaring back out in that instant!

Fabricating metal is the same way. There’s only so much a piece of metal can take before it needs to unleash its stress. Usually, these problems show up during heat treatments, since the metal is being subjected to chemical reactions that involve energy. The results can vary—from distortion of shape to stress fracturing and more.

So how do you stop metal from cracking up? The same way you stop yourself from cracking under pressure. Stress relief!

Types of Stress Relief

While you might get a massage or a good night’s sleep to relieve your stress, metal needs treatments that are a little more extreme to regain their composure. Depending on the type of stress they’re carrying or what their intended purpose is, one of two treatments is usually enacted.

First, there’s a 150-200°C treatment. This works to relieve stresses in components that have been hardened or tempered. The high heat is extreme enough to alleviate stress in the structure of the metal, yet not so high as to deform it or reduce its hardness.

The second type of stress relieving in Gastonia, NC comes at super high temperatures—as high as 600-680°C! This begins to normalize metals, alleviating stresses and working to uniformly distribute any remaining stress in the metal.

Benefits of Stress Relief

How do you feel after a stress relieving endeavor? Probably pretty good! So will metal that has undergone stress relief. Relieving stress comes with a variety of benefits that include:

  • Less chance of deformation or cracking in future heat treatments
  • Easier machining of metals after heat treatment
  • High performance in final application, thanks to lack of internal stress points
  • Resistance to volatile environments

Overall, stress relief results in a better piece of metal that’s able to perform better in its final application—not unlike people, who tend to do better when they’re given a chance to blow off steam and relax! It’s funny to think that a wrench and a mechanic are able to attribute the same thing to their success: being stress-free.

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