There are many different kinds of metallurgical processes that produce different effects in metal. Before you can decide which process is best for your part or project, you need to decide what your end result should be. For example, some treatments soften metal and improve its ductility, while others increase hardness or improve electrical conductivity.
Flame hardening in Gastonia, NC is designed to harden the surface of a metal, which makes it more resistant to wear and corrosion.
What is flame hardening?
Flame hardening is performed on various types of steels (alloy, mild and medium carbon), as well as cast iron. First, the metal is heated to a specific temperature, which allows the surface to change structure; the core remains cool and the structure unchanged. This is usually accomplished by a gas flame (often oxygen and acetylene, although it may include propane). The heat can be applied to the entire surface or certain parts, depending on the desired results.
As soon as the right temperature is reached, it is dunked in water or a brine, which is called quenching. Quenching hardens the structure of the surface and gives it its wear and corrosion-resistant properties.
If you’re familiar with induction hardening, you might be thinking that this sounds similar, and it is—the main difference is that induction hardening uses electricity to provide heat, while flame hardening uses an open flame. For this reason, induction hardening is more precise than flame hardening, but both are regarded as quite effective.
What are the benefits of flame hardening?
The main benefit of flame hardening in Gastonia, NC is, of course, the newly-hardened surface. However, it also offers a faster processing time than nitriding and carburizing, with fewer processing steps involved.
There are a few drawbacks associated with flame hardening. First, since it’s performed using an open flame, the process has an increased fire risk. Further, while it hardens the metal, sometimes the surface can become too brittle, which leads to cracking, flaking and chipping. It’s not as precise as boriding or induction hardening, and sometimes oxidation can appear on the surface.
Ultimately, the best method of surface hardening will depend on your specific project, what it will be used for, the materials it’s made out of and just how precise you need the effect to be. If flame hardening isn’t suitable, induction hardening or boriding might produce similar results.
Flame hardening services in Gastonia, NC
For four decades, J. F. Heat Treating Inc. has offered professional metallurgical services to the Gastonia area. No matter what kind of project you’re working on, we can provide the flame hardening or other heat treatments you need. Our shop utilizes cutting-edge tools and equipment, all operated by our team of highly trained technicians. If you’re not sure what kind of metallurgical services would be best for your specific parts or project, please reach out to us today. We’d be happy to help you decide on a method so we can work to deliver the results you desire.