Heat treatment basis: annealing-quenching-tempering

1. Types of annealing
1. Complete annealing and isothermal annealing

Complete annealing is also called recrystallization annealing, generally referred to as annealing. This annealing is mainly used for castings, forgings and hot-rolled sections of various carbon and alloy steels with hypoeutectoid compositions, and sometimes also used for welded structures. Generally used as the final heat treatment of some non-heavy workpieces, or as the pre-heat treatment of some workpieces.

2. Spheroidizing annealing

Spheroidizing annealing is mainly used for hypereutectoid carbon steels and alloy tool steels (such as steel grades used in manufacturing cutting tools, measuring tools, and molds). Its main purpose is to reduce hardness, improve machinability, and prepare for subsequent quenching.

3. Stress relief annealing

Stress relief annealing is also called low temperature annealing (or high temperature tempering). This annealing is mainly used to eliminate residual stress in castings, forgings, welded parts, hot rolled parts, cold drawn parts, etc. If these stresses are not eliminated, the steel parts will be deformed or cracked after a certain period of time or in the subsequent cutting process.

2. When quenching, the most commonly used cooling media are brine, water and oil. Salt water quenched workpieces are easy to obtain high hardness and smooth surface, and it is not easy to produce soft spots that are not hardened, but it is easy to cause serious deformation of the workpiece and even cracks. The use of oil as the quenching medium is only suitable for the quenching of some alloy steels or small-sized carbon steel workpieces with relatively large stability of undercooled austenite.

3. The purpose of steel tempering

1. Reduce brittleness and eliminate or reduce internal stress. There is a large internal stress and brittleness of steel parts after quenching. If not tempered in time, the steel parts will often deform or even crack.

2. Obtain the required mechanical properties of the workpiece. After quenching, the workpiece has high hardness and high brittleness. In order to meet the different performance requirements of various workpieces, the hardness can be adjusted by appropriate tempering to reduce the brittleness and obtain the required Toughness, plasticity.

3. Stable workpiece size

4. For some alloy steels that are difficult to soften by annealing, high temperature tempering is often used after quenching (or normalizing), so that the carbides in the steel are properly aggregated and the hardness is reduced to facilitate cutting.