In the early days of metalworking, humans only had the technology and skills to reshape pieces of metal for tools or weapons. Nowadays, we can do much more than that! We have the ability to make pieces of metal harder, stronger and more ductile and get rid of undesirable imperfections. As you can imagine, there are several different techniques we can use to achieve these results. Continue reading to learn more about the different types of heat treating in Gastonia, NC:
- Quenching and tempering: Quenching is an annealing process that involves heating metal and then rapidly cooling it in water or oil. This process freezes its microstructure and makes it a whole lot harder than it once was. Though we want it to be hard, we don’t want it to be brittle, which is why metalworkers then temper it after quenching.
- Precipitation hardening: Also known as age hardening, precipitation hardening is the process of strengthening metal by slowly raising its temperature without quenching them afterward. It takes anywhere from one to four hours to harden metals this way, depending on which types of metals we’re working with. Good candidates for this process include alloys like aluminum, magnesium, nickel, titanium and some stainless steels.
- Induction hardening: Much like quenching, induction hardening involves rapidly cooling super-heated metal. However, this process is more selective because the metal is heated via magnetic coils. After the metal reaches the right temperature, it’s again dipped in oil or water to cool it down. Induction hardening reduces the time it takes to harden metals, while also decreasing the risk of decarburization.
- Carburization and carbonitriding: Metal parts that need to be hardened on the surface while remaining soft at the core should be carburized. This involves superheating the steel and then adding carbon into it. Carburization is perfect for parts like gears, blades and cutting tools that need to be incredibly hard and wear-resistant on the surface but still strong and softer at the core. Carbonitriding is a similar process, though it involves adding nitrogen to the steel as well as the carbon.
- Nitriding and nitrocarburizing: The alternative to the two processes above are nitriding and nitrocarburizing. These steps also produce hardened surface levels, but it’s done by diffusing nitrogen throughout the surface instead of carbon. Nitrogen is added to the steel via gas or plasma while the steel is at a temperature of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The benefit of nitriding is that there’s little to no distortion afterward (unlike with carburization).
Trust the experts at J.F. Heat Treating Inc.!
At the end of the day, our experts at J.F. Heat Treating Inc. will determine the best route to go to get the results you need. We’ll sit down with you and go over our plan to ensure you understand what exactly we’ll be doing with your metal. You can rest easy knowing that your metal is in good hands when you come to us for heat treating in Gastonia, NC! Better still, we offer some of the lowest prices in town for all heat treating services. Give us a call today to find out what we can do for you or to get a quote.