Structural metal components are strengthened by changing their physical and mechanical properties through heat treatment processes. It allows the metal to cope with certain operating or working conditions to aid in achieving an optimal lifespan. This process involves the use of varying heat treating equipment while heating or cooling the materials to extreme temperatures to attain the desired result.
Heat treating materials is one of the most crucial parts in the manufacturing process that can help improve product performance and properties. This is similar to other manufacturing processes, allowing
heat treatment to be performed in various ways.
Here are the processes of heat treatment:
- Hardening: This process begins by heating the metal and keeping it at a certain temperature. The steel is then dipped in oil or water. The level of temperature applied during heating depends on the amount of carbon present in the steel material. While inside the heat treating equipment, it is ensured that the core of the material has been totally transformed.
- Tempering: During this process, the steel that has been hardened for a sufficient time is heated. This makes the material suitable to be equilibrated. The temperature at which the tempering is done determines the strength and hardness of the material. The higher the temperature applied, the higher the ductility. In order to achieve the desired level of hardness and strength, appropriate tempering temperature should be applied.
- Annealing: By placing your material inside the heat treating equipment, you are capable of applying the right amount of heat and then cool it slowly back to room temperature. In order to reduce the required energy and load to allow the steel through large strains without breaking down, it is crucial to annealing is done prior to cold forming.
- Normalizing: This is performed on structural components or whole structures that are going to be machined since it helps improve their machinability. It involves heating the carbon steel for a period of time and then cooling it in air. The resulting structure has lower ductility but greater strength and hardness.