Heat treating is a very important process in nearly every industry. In fact, there are very few products that can be manufactured without some level of heat treating involved. This vital process occurs when metal is heated and cooled under tight controls to improve its properties, performance and durability.
Heat treating offers many advantages for a wide range of applications, including automotives, aircrafts, electronics and heavy equipment. Here’s a closer look at the key elements of heat treating.
Back to the Basics
The heat treating process requires a few basic steps in order to be successful. These include:
- Heating the material to a specific temperature
- Holding the material at that temperature for an allotted amount of time
- Cooling the material down at appropriate speed
Depending on the material and the application you are satisfying, heating times and temperatures will vary. Some metals require up to a minute of heating at high temperatures, while others only require a few seconds.
When it comes to cooling, some materials are cooled slowly in the furnace, while others need to be removed immediately to cool as fast as possible, also known as quenching. Quenching is a method of cooling used to obtain certain material properties and prevent undesired low-temperature processes, such as phase transformations. Parts can be quenched in oil, water, brine, polymer solutions, air, molten salts, molten metals and gases.
The Benefits of Heat Treating
The heat treating process offers many great benefits for metals, allowing them to adopt new properties that are better suited for specific applications. Some of the most noteworthy benefits include:
- Improve flexibility
- Improve strength
- Increase abrasion resistance
- Boost corrosion resistance properties
- Creates a more durable product
These elements of heat treating provide manufacturers with overall stronger, tougher products that can handle difficult applications. With improved resistance properties, you can expect the lifetime of heat treated products to increase as well.
Want to talk more about heat treating?
Give us a call at 1.800.333.7519 or contact us online to speak with an ACI representative today.