Sometimes known as precipitation hardening, precipitation strengthening is a method to help make metals stronger. It is a type of heat treatment that can make softer metals firmer, thus increasing their surface strength. Read this quick guide to learn more about precipitation strengthening in Gastonia, NC.
The Basics of Precipitation Strengthening
To harden softer materials like metal alloys, precipitation strengthening uses heat application to add small solid particles into the structure of the metal. These particles, or impurities, add friction and cause resistance in the movement of the metal’s structure. By slowing or restricting motion within the metal, the particles create a more rigid metal that is stronger and less likely to bend or break than before.
How Does Precipitation Strengthening Work?
There are generally three steps involved in precipitation strengthening. These include a solution treatment, quenching and an aging process. Precipitation strengthening is normally done in a vacuum that is extremely high temperature, and can take anywhere from an hour to several hours, depending on the application and metal being strengthened.
The first step in precipitation strengthening is a solution treatment. This process involves heating the metal you wish to strengthen to incredibly high temperatures. Once the metal is at the appropriate temperature, it is treated with a solution. The second step, quenching, is the process of quickly cooling down the solution-treated metal.
The final step is the aging process, in which you heat the metal again and then cool it quickly. This time, however, the metal is only heated to a medium temperature instead of a high heat. Once it is heated enough, the metal is cooled down. This results in a harder metal that is stronger than it was before.
What Metals Are Used in Precipitation Strengthening?
Precipitation strengthening is best used on metals that are malleable or supple so that the particles can offer strengthening support. Some common types of metals used in precipitation strengthening include:
- Aluminum: As the most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, aluminum is readily available. You can find aluminum in many different products, from soft drink cans to car bodies. It does not rust or magnetize.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is the lightest of all metals. Magnesium is generally used in alloys, or two metals combined to form a new one, and can be used in many different industries.
- Titanium: Titanium is another metal commonly found in alloys. It’s resistance to corrosion and light weight make it a great candidate for precipitation strengthening. You can often find titanium in aerospace and military applications.
- Nickel: Nickel is used in a wide range of applications. These might include everything from building materials for office structures to food preparation equipment. Its resistance to corrosion makes it a good metal for precipitation strengthening.
Professional Heat Treating Services
Use of precipitation strengthening in Gastonia, NC can help make weaker metals sturdier and more resistant to bending or denting. If you are looking for precipitation strengthening or other heat treatment services, contact the professionals at J.F. Heat Treating Inc. today.