Methods of Steel Heat Treatment

1. Methods of Steel Heat Treatment

Quenching is a heat treatment when metal at a high temperature is rapidly cooled by immersion in water or oil. Quenching makes steel harder and more brittle, with small grains structure.

Tempering is a heat treatment applied to steel and certain alloys. Hardened steel after quenching from a high temperature is too hard and brittle for many applications and is also brittle. Tempering, that is re-heating to an intermediate temperature and cooling slowly, reduces this hardness and brittleness. Tempering temperatures depend on the composition of the steel but are frequently between 100 and 650 oC. Higher temperatures usually give a softer, tougher product. The colour of the oxide film produced on the surface of the heated metal often serves as the indicator of its temperature.

Annealing is a heat treatment in which a material at high temperature is cooled slowly. After cooling the metal again becomes malleable and ductile (capable of being bent many times without cracking).

All these methods of steel heat treatment are used to obtain steels with certain mechanical properties for certain needs.

English for Students of Mechanical Engineering

Compiler Galina Kubõškina

Layout by Ingrid Baumeister

Edited by Tallinn College of Engineering, 2005