What Happens When Metal Undergoes Heat Treatment?

In the years before the prevalence of modern metal manufacturing techniques, blacksmiths used to make metal malleable. They then quickly lowered the metal’s temperature. Rapid cooling made the finished product harder and less brittle. Today, metal heat treatment in Gastonia, NC mimics that process. The process of subjecting metal to heat treatment alters the physical and chemical properties of metallic objects without manipulating its shape. Heat treatment can increase tolerances and allow you to do more with your metal.

There are a number of heat treatment processes available that you can use to obtain differing results. Various heat treatments are useful for a wide range of industrial and personal applications. You should consult with an expert specializing in metal heat treatment in Gastonia, NC to determine which type of heat treatment works best for your applications and objectives.

Here are just some of the most common types of heat treatment available:

  • Cryogenic treatment: This interesting type of heat treatment requires metallurgists to gradually lower the temperature of metal using liquid nitrogen. The metal is kept at a consistent temperature of -190 centigrade for one day. The metal is then heat tempered at a temperature of 149 centigrade. This twofold process reduces brittleness in the metal.
  • Annealing: This type of heat treatment heats metal to the point where it is soft and almost malleable. The microstructure of the metal begins to change once it reaches its critical temperature, which means that the metal becomes harder and less brittle. The metal is slowly cooled after the annealing process is complete.
  • Quench hardening: Similarly to annealing, quench hardening metal, also called quenching, requires the metallurgist to bring the metal up to its critical temperature. Once the critical temperature is reached, however, the metallurgist uses water or oil to rapidly cool the object. This is a cost-effective alternative to more labor-intensive annealing.
  • Precipitation hardening: Also called age hardening, precipitation hardening makes metal stronger by creating a more uniform grain structure. The metal is rapidly cooled, and then heated to extremely high temperatures for up to four hours. The thickness and type of metal used ultimately determines the length of heating.
  • Stress relieving: If you’ve recently invested in metal heat treatment in Gastonia, NC, you may also want to consider stress relieving. This process gradually heats metals up to high temperatures that are lower than the critical temperature threshold. This means that the heating process relieves stress in your metal without altering its physical makeup.

Since 1980, J.F. Heat Treating Inc. has been a premier provider of heat treatment in Gastonia, NC. We offer a wide range of different heat treatment processes that address nearly every need. We can help you make the most of your machined metallurgical product. Our trained technicians are here to ensure that you receive the highest possible degree of satisfaction. Reach out to one of our well-trained heat treatment professionals to learn more about how heat treatment may affect your metal products, and increase your overall productivity.

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