Heat treating is the application of extreme temperatures over a specified length of time to alter the physical or chemical properties of a material and achieve a desired result, typically hardening or softening. Several common types of heat treating include:
Annealing — Cycle of heating and cooling used to increase ductility, soften material and relieve internal stresses.
Case Hardening — Process of hardening carbon steel by altering the elements at the material's surface.
Precipitation Strengthening — Extended hold at elevated temperatures used to increase the yield strength of malleable materials.
Tempering — Controlled reheating used to increase toughness and overall strength.
Quenching — Rapid cooling used to increase toughness or harden materials.
A heat-treatment process of particular interest in the casting industry is austempering, which can be used to provide excellent strength, toughness and fatigue characteristics in ductile iron at a price typically 20% less than steel. Austempered ductile iron can be tailored to provide a range of mechanical properties through manipulation of the times and temperatures used during heat treatment, as well as starting ductile iron chemistries. This specialty material is ideally suited for conversion of parts from costly forgings, weldments and assemblies. Domet has the experience and knowledge to assist with identifying the best heat-treatment process to meet your needs at the best possible price.