Heat treating of metal is done for several reasons, but most often to bring about a desired change in the properties of the given part or component. It can be done to create a harder metal or a softer metal. In the case of softening metals, this is done in preparation for future metal working which would not be possible in the metal’s current state.
Hardening is done to make the surface of the metal stronger and more resistant to wear. This is important on the surfaces of parts or components. It is also needed for cutting tools, equipment parts, and applications where there will be excessive wear and tear.
There are many different options for heat treatment of metal. There are induction heating methods, solution heat treatments and the exposure to radiant heat followed by a specifically timed cooling period.
In addition, there is also the option to use atmosphere heat treating, which is an alternative to heat treating in a vacuum. This is a specialized process completed in a controlled atmosphere and with extremely limited levels of oxygen, humidity and carbon dioxide. While other forms of heat treating do not require the removal of these components through the flushing of the system with gas, the effects are minimal.
The Gas Options
There can be different gases selected for use during atmosphere heat treating. These include inert gases such as nitrogen or argon, but other combinations and mixtures can be used to obtain the desired result.
The results of atmosphere heat treating free from exposure to the air is a much brighter surface on the parts and components. This eliminates the need for additional processing to create the desired surface, plus it also reduces costs and speeds up the processing of parts, helping to save money as well as time.