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Heat treatment is a process to change the physical aspect of any material, and at times it alters the chemical properties also. The most common use of heat treatment happens to be in the field of metal works or metallurgy. Very interestingly, among non metallic materials, heat treatment is used in the manufacturing of glass products. Heating or chilling are the main activities involved in this treatment.
These processes are been performed in extreme temperatures. The procedure is meant for making modification in the form of the metal as desired, like making the material harder or softer. We can see that heat treatment as a process would need heating and cooling of metals. They are done to fulfill specific requirements by changing the physical and sometimes chemical properties. But, as a matter of fact heating and cooling take place in other parts of metallurgy too, but those heating and cooling procedures are not included in the heat treatment sector of metal works. Examples of such other activities which take place in the heat treatment company are processes like welding or hot forming.
Techniques practiced by a heat treatment company include various processes. Before that, let’s dig deeper into the details about the micro-structure of the metals. Metals bear umpteen micro-structures, and they appear as crystal grains are known as crystallites. All these grains accumulate together and make a unit of a micro-structure. The crystals vary in mass and size. The nature of these crystals point out towards the mechanical properties of a metal.
Heat treatment often brings changes in the rate of diffusion in metals and in turn change the cooling rate of the metals after they go through heavy heating procedures. The mechanical properties of alloys has great usability; hence the complex heat treatment procedures are been used by the metal workers to enhance the property of alloys. A super alloy, an essential in the aerospace industry, are made to undergo several heat treatments ranging from five or even more to get the desired results.
There are different processes through which metals are heat treated. These processes are discussed in brief in the following:
Hardening and Tempering: This process is also known as quenching. This method is usually undergone in case of steel or cast iron. For hardening a metal it has to be heated so much that it reaches its austenitic crystal phase, and then cooled down very quickly. Cooling of this metal depends on which kind of metal is being used. Liquid nitrogen to water, anything may be used to bring down the temperature of the metal depending on its properties.
Annealing: Annealing is process by which the cold works are found in the metals and it also helps to loosen the stress points of a metal. Metals become soft and ductile after going through annealing. When an annealed metal part is left to cool down in the furnace itself then that metal is said to have undergone full annealed heat treatment.
Precipitation Hardening: There are some metals which fall under this category of metals. When an alloy of such category is hardened, the alloying elements get stuck in a solution, and this result into the alloy turning into soft metal.
Heat treatment can change the overall properties of metal crystals. Thereby, heat treatment can also manipulate the overall mechanical properties of metals. To know more visit http://www.heat-treat.co.uk/