Process characteristics and process of heat treatment

Update: 10-05-2021

1. Process characteristics Metal heat treatment is one […]

1. Process characteristics

Metal heat treatment is one of the important processes in mechanical manufacturing. Compared with other processing processes, heat treatment generally does not change the shape and overall chemical composition of the workpiece, but by changing the internal microstructure of the workpiece, or changing the chemical composition of the surface of the workpiece , To give or improve the performance of the workpiece. Its characteristic is to improve the internal quality of the workpiece, which is generally not visible to the naked eye. In order to make the metal workpiece have the required mechanical properties, physical properties and chemical properties, in addition to the reasonable selection of materials and various forming processes, heat treatment processes are often indispensable. Steel is the most widely used material in the machinery industry. The microstructure of steel is complex and can be controlled by heat treatment. Therefore, the heat treatment of steel is the main content of metal heat treatment. In addition, aluminum, copper, magnesium, titanium, etc. and their alloys can also change their mechanical, physical and chemical properties through heat treatment to obtain different performance properties.

Second, the process

The heat treatment process generally includes three processes of heating, heat preservation, and cooling, and sometimes there are only two processes of heating and cooling. These processes are connected and uninterrupted.

Heating is one of the important processes of Heat Treatment Equipment. There are many heating methods for metal heat treatment. Charcoal and coal were first used as heat sources, and liquid and gas fuels were recently used. The application of electricity makes heating easy to control, and there is no environmental pollution. These heat sources can be used for direct heating, or indirect heating by molten salt or metal, or even floating particles.

When the metal is heated, the workpiece is exposed to the air, and oxidation and decarburization often occur (that is, the carbon content of the surface of the steel parts is reduced), which has a very negative effect on the surface properties of the parts after heat treatment. Therefore, metals should usually be heated in a controlled atmosphere or protective atmosphere, molten salt, and vacuum, and coatings or packaging methods can also be used for protection and heating.

The heating temperature is one of the important process parameters of the heat treatment process. The selection and control of the heating temperature is the main issue to ensure the quality of the heat treatment. The heating temperature varies with the metal material being processed and the purpose of the heat treatment, but it is generally heated above the phase transition temperature to obtain a high-temperature structure. In addition, the transformation requires a certain time. Therefore, when the surface of the metal workpiece reaches the required heating temperature, it must be maintained at this temperature for a certain period of time to make the internal and external temperatures consistent and complete the microstructure transformation. This period of time is called the holding time. When high-energy density heating and surface heat treatment are used, the heating speed is extremely fast, and there is generally no holding time, while the holding time of chemical heat treatment is often longer.

Cooling is also an indispensable step in the heat treatment process. The cooling method varies from process to process, and the main thing is to control the cooling rate. Generally, annealing has the slowest cooling rate, normalizing cooling rate is faster, and quenching cooling rate is faster. However, there are different requirements due to different steel grades. For example, hollow hard steel can be quenched at the same cooling rate as normalizing.


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