What Is Normalizing in Metallurgy?

At J.F. Heat Treating Inc., we specialize in all sorts of different metallurgical processes, or the science of altering a metal’s properties to meet desired characteristics. From aging to peening, there are all sorts of different processes we provide for our clients. Another process we’re well familiar with is normalizing. What exactly is normalizing? This post will go in depth to uncover the details of this process in Gastonia, NC.

Why is normalizing used?

When you want to make a piece more ductile (or flexible) and less hard, you’ll need to have a professional normalize it. We’ll explore more about the normalizing process below, but it involves heating a metal to above its recrystallization temperature before allowing it to cool relatively slowly. After the metal has cooled, it is more machinable, formable and stronger than it was before it was heated.

What’s the difference between normalizing and annealing?

Both normalizing and annealing are similar processes in that they involve heating a metal and cooling it slowly to create a ductile microstructure. However, the two methods aren’t interchangeable. When a metal is annealed, it’s cooled at a controlled temperature in a furnace. Conversely, normalized metal is cooled at room temperature.

By cooling the metal more quickly at room temperature instead of in a furnace, normalizing makes the piece slightly less ductile and a bit harder than an annealed piece. Because normalizing takes less time and doesn’t require a furnace, it’s one of the less expensive metallurgy heat treatments in Gastonia, NC.

What’s the normalizing process?

Although only trained metallurgists will ever perform normalizing, it’s helpful if our clients understand what we do when we perform these metallurgy heat treatments in Gastonia, NC. These are the three steps we take to normalize your metal:

  • Recovery: The first step is the recovery stage, when we use a furnace or other heating device to raise the temperature of the metal. Super-heating the material in this step relieves the internal stresses and imperfections of the metal.
  • Recrystallization: As we touched on above, the metal is next brought to its recrystallization temperature. Bringing it to this point will create new grains in the metal without forming additional stresses. We must be careful at this step, as we don’t want to overheat the material and melt it. Since there’s a fine line between recrystallization and melting, normalization is only a job for the pros!
  • Gain growth: Now that the material has reached its recrystallization temperature, we remove the metal and let it cool at room temperature. When coming in contact with the cooler air, the new grains in the metal fully develop. Metallurgists may or may not continue to work with the metal after this step, but now the piece is fully normalized.

Bring your metal to J.F. Heat Treating Inc.

It’s just as important to know what normalizing is as it is to know which company in Gastonia, NC should handle your metalworking. For the best results, come to J.F. Heat Treating Inc. We specialize in all kinds of metallurgy and heat treating services, from normalizing to tempering. Give us a call today to learn more about our services or to get an estimate.

Read More

Leave a Reply