The main purpose of aluminum heat treating is to increase the strength of a metal. However, there are several different ways to accomplish this objective. Learn about the different types of heat treatments and the benefits of each.
The Annealing Process
When aluminum alloys are shaped, it causes damage to the underlying grain structures. This is referred to as slip planing. At some point, the slip planes become too hard to continue shaping. An aluminum heat treating company uses annealing to resolve this problem by resetting the structure of the metal to create additional slip planes. In the end, this makes it easier to continue working with the aluminum.
Homogenizing works by evenly distributing the precipitating elements throughout the piece of aluminum. This resolves a problem that occurs when casting aluminum alloys. During the casting process, it is common to encounter sections that are hard, and others that are too soft. Homogenizing rework the structure of the metal to make it more uniform.
Precipitation hardening is used for alloys that need additional heat to remove dissolved elements. At the end of this process, the metal reaches a higher degree of hardness. All in all, this process can take up to 24 hours to complete. The exact time depends on the type of alloy you are working with.
It is important to recognize that not all alloys will need heat treatment. An aluminum heat treating company can help you determine if this process is necessary. Speak with a professional if you need further clarification.