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TYPES OF HEAT TREATMENT

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TYPES OF HEAT TREATMENT

Four basic types of heat treatment are used today. They are annealing, normalizing, hardening, and tem­pering. The techniques used in each process and how they relate to Steelworkers are given in the following paragraphs.

ANNEALING

In general, annealing is the opposite of hardening, You anneal metals to relieve internal stresses, soften them, make them more ductile, and refine their grain structures. Annealing consists of heating a metal to a specific temperature, holding it at that temperature for a set length of time, and then cooling the metal to room temperature. The cooling method depends on the

Table 2-1.-Heat Colors for Steel

Table 2-2.-Approximate Soaking Periods for Hardening, Annealing, and Normalizing Steel

metal and the properties desired. Some metals are furnace-cooled, and others are cooled by burying them in ashes, lime, or other insulating materials.

Welding produces areas that have molten metal next to other areas that are at room temperature. As the weld cools, internal stresses occur along with hard spots and brittleness. Welding can actually weaken the metal. Annealing is just one of the methods for correcting these problems.

Ferrous Metal

To produce the maximum softness in steel, you heat the metal to its proper temperature, soak it, and then let it cool very slowly. The cooling is done by burying the hot part in an insulating material or by shutting off the furnace and allowing the furnace and the part to cool together. The soaking period depends on both the mass of the part and the type of metal. The approximate soaking periods for annealing steel are given in tablc 2-2.

Steel with an extremely low-carbon content re­quires the highest annealing temperature. As the carbon content increases, the annealing temperatures decrease.

Nonferrous Metal

Copper becomes hard and brittle when mechani­cally worked; however, it can be made soft again by annealing. The annealing temperature for copper is be­tween 700°F and 900°F. Copper maybe cooled rapidly or slowly since the cooling rate has no effect on the heat treatment. The one drawback experienced in annealing copper is the phenomenon called "hot shortness." At about 900°F, copper loses its tensile strength, and if not properly supported, it could fracture.

Aluminum reacts similar to copper when heat treat­ing. It also has the characteristic of "hot shortness." A number of aluminum alloys exist and each requires special heat treatment to produce their best properties.

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