Metals are used in the construction of buildings, electronics, and many other industries. One of the biggest advantages to utilizing metal is they can be thermally processed to your desired specifications. If you want your metal to be hard and resist denting, then it can be thermally processed to bring out those qualities. There are many different metals, and each possesses specific qualities. Through thermal processing, those qualities can be enhanced. Here are a just a few different aspects about the thermal processing of metal.
One process that many companies put their steel through is called annealing. This is a process where the steel is heated to a temperature above the recrystallization point of the steal. This is the stage where any defects caused by deformation of the metal can be fixed. The metal has to be in an oven at the specified temperature for a fixed amount of time, but it is important that the oven is large enough to allow the air to circulate around the metal. The cooling process is extremely important in the annealing process. The metal has to cool down extremely slowly to produce the refined microstructure of the steal. This maximizes the softness of the metal. The steel is often buried in sand to prolong the cooling process. Metal annealing is commonly used to soften the metal. Softening metal may seem like an interesting concept, but if you are going to be working the metal in cold conditions, you do not want the metal to fracture or shatter. The annealing process also increases machinability, and enhances electrical conductivity.
A process known as tempering is used to increase the toughness of the steel. Steel is naturally very hard, but is usually too brittle for most applications. Heating the steel to a very exact temperature is the first part of the tempering process. The temperature does not reach the critical point of the steel. The temperature will be adjusted depending on what you want the hardness of your metal to be. The lower temperatures are usually used to reduce the brittleness of the steel. Higher temperatures will reduce hardness, which will increase the plasticity of the steel, but will allow for some of the tensile strength to be lost in the process. The tempering process is usually used to alter the ductility, hardness, toughness, and strength of the steel. Thermal processing of metals is a fascinating and fruitful process.
To learn more, get in touch with a business like Pacific Metallurgical Inc.