Heat treatment material
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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 interconnected and uninterrupted. Heating is one of the important processes of heat treatment. There are many heating methods for metal heat treatment. The earliest ones used charcoal and coal as heat sources, and more recently, liquid and gas fuels were used. The application of electricity makes heating easy to control and free of environmental pollution. These heat sources can be used for direct heating or indirect heating through molten salt or gold, 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 on the surface of the steel part is reduced), which has a very adverse effect on the surface properties of the parts after heat treatment. Therefore, the metal should usually be heated in a controlled atmosphere or protective atmosphere, in molten salt and in vacuum, and can also be protected by coating or packaging methods. The heating temperature is one of the important process parameters of the heat treatment process. The selection and control of the heating temperature are the main issues to ensure the quality of the heat treatment. The heating temperature varies with the metal material to be processed and the purpose of the heat treatment, but generally it is heated above the phase transition temperature to obtain a high-temperature structure. In addition, the transformation takes a certain amount of time, so 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 the microstructure changes completely. 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 with different processes, mainly controlling the cooling rate. Generally, the cooling rate of annealing is the slowest, the cooling rate of normalizing is faster, and the cooling rate of quenching is faster. However, there are also different requirements due to different steel types. For example, hollow-hardened steel can be hardened with the same cooling rate as normalizing.