While the microstructures of alloys can be modified through the process of cooling, they can also be altered by being subjected to various heat treatments with the use of an industrial oven. Heat-treating is the process that refers to all of the controlled heating and cooling operations done on any material in their solid form for the intention of modifying its original properties and microstructure. While it’s commonly performed on metals, it can also be used on composites and ceramics.
- Increase the material’s hardness and strength
- Soften it to improve workability
- Achieve part dimensional stability
- Alleviate undesirable residual stresses incurred during fabrication
- Achieve stable properties despite changes during service.
Various metals and their alloys respond differently to heat treatment at varying temperatures inside the industrial oven. Moreover, every metal has its own unique chemical composition, which means alterations in their properties happen at different temperatures. Take for example the presence of carbon in a particular metal. Its traces can significantly influence how much time, temperature, cooling rate, and what specific heat treatment method will work best. The structure of the metal can be changed due to different mechanisms, depending on the type of thermal treatment applied to it.
There are many ways in which metals are heat-treated using an industrial oven and other heat treatment equipment. In the case of heat-treating a copper-aluminum alloy, there are plenty of heat treatment processes that can be applied. These include age hardening, annealing, normalizing, stress relieving, tempering, and quenching. Precipitation heat treatment can also be done which involves a three-step process of age hardening, quenching, and solution treating to increase the hardness or strength of the alloy. Solution treating involves heating the metal alloy to a temperature that places all the elements in a solid solution and then cooling very rapidly to freeze the atoms in place.
For more information on industrial ovens for heat treatment processes, contact Eastman Manufacturing today.