Metals have been an essential component throughout human history. We use metals to design and manufacture everything from sophisticated technological devices to towering skyscrapers. However, all of these diverse applications for metal materials would not be possible if it wasn’t for heat treatment. Heat treating in Gastonia, NC changes the properties of different kinds of metals in order to enhance certain characteristics that are suitable for the intended application. There are many different types of heat treatment, and each one has a specific purpose:
- Quenching: During metal quenching, metal is heated to a designated temperature and then quickly quenched in water or oil to cool it rapidly. Quenching hardens the metal component and promotes durability. Typically, parts that are quenched are also aged, stress relieved or tempered after quenching to achieve the desired hardness and increase stability.
- Cryogenic hardening: While it isn’t technically a heat treatment, cryogenic hardening is a process that utilizes temperature changes to reduce stress and prevent corrosion. A part that’s being cryogenically hardened will be cooled to around -300° F with liquid nitrogen. The cooling process itself is done over a long period of time in order to prevent excessive thermal stress in the part.
- Annealing: Annealing is used to reduce the hardness of metal alloys and optimize parts for machining. During annealing, metal components are placed in large ovens that have room for effective air circulation around the part. The metal is heated to a predesignated temperature and held there. At this temperature, the metal can recrystallize and its physical and chemical properties will change. Next, the metal is cooled very slowly to room temperature. The metal may be placed in a medium like sand during the cooling process to ensure a gradual temperature change.
- Case hardening: Case hardening is a process that’s designed to change just the outer layer of steel. During case hardening, carbon will be diffused into the component through a combination of gas, air and vacuum. After case hardening, the metal component has a harder surface that’s resistant to corrosion.
- Tempering: Oftentimes, steel can crack or become damaged when it’s machined, as a result of its brittleness. Tempering makes steel less brittle and reduces hardness so that it can be used for a wider variety of applications. During tempering, steel is heated to a temperature just under the transformational point, held at that temperature and then cooled in still air.
If you want to know more about heat treating in Gastonia, NC, give the experts at J. F. Heat Treating Inc. a call. We have been serving the manufacturing and fabrication industries with quality services since 1980 and we continue to help our clients with a wide variety of heat treating services. We can walk you through the heat treatments that we provide and help you determine which one is right for your parts and components. Contact us by phone to speak with one of our experts and find out how you can get started with our services.