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Heat Treatment of Steel

Engineering 45 Materials Monday 8:00 AM Lab


Troy Topping
10/31/11

Deanna Becker
11/21/11

Abstract
This procedure compared properties of heat treated 4140 steels and accurately
represented processes that material science engineers use in design. Two specimens of 0.505inch-diameter 4140 AR steel were heat treated into the quenched and tempered state and
hardness and tensile tests were performed. From the stress-strain curves created, the elastic
modulus, the 0.2% offset YS, the UTS, the % elongation, and the % reduction for samples on
samples A and B were as follows respectively: 33,866 ksi and 29,162 ksi; 166 ksi and 168 ksi;
180,325 psi and 186,940 psi; 11.30% and 15.19%; and 36.03% and 37.46%. The hardnesses in
the as quenched state on the Rockwell C scale for samples A and B were determined to be 47.7
and 47.3 respectively. The hardnesses in the quenched and tempered state on the Rockwell C
scale for samples A and B were determined to be 31.9 and 33.4 respectively. Also, two
specimens of 0.505-inch-diameter 4140 AR steel were heat treated into the fully annealed state
and hardness and tensile tests were performed. From the stress-strain curves created, the elastic
modulus, the 0.2% offset YS, the UTS, the % elongation, and the % reduction for samples on
samples A and B were as follows respectively: 27,740 ksi and 28,977 ksi; 54 ksi and 54 ksi;
62,776 psi and 78,772 psi; 28.48% and 27.00%; and 44.86% and 45.07%. The hardnesses on the
Rockwell B scale for samples A and B were determined to be 86.0 and 86.6 respectively. Data
was used from previous hardness and tensile tests done on 0.505-inch-diamter 4140 AR
specimens to compare properties. From the stress-strain curves created, the elastic modulus, the
0.2% offset YS, the UTS, the % elongation, and the % reduction for samples on Monday and
Wednesday were as follows respectively: 23,917 ksi and 22,706 ksi; 74 ksi and 74 ksi; 103,230
psi and 103,315 psi; 15.46% and 17.80%; and 34.28% and 35.36%. The hardnesses on the
Rockwell B scale were 96.5 and 96.3 for the Monday and Wednesday samples respectively.

Introduction
Design engineers choose their materials with aims to accommodate for particular functions
such as need for strength or ductility. Material science engineers heat-treat their materials to
create a substance which holds the specific combination of properties needed for the functions.
This labs purpose was to acquaint the student with the Fe-Fe3C phase diagram and to instill
them with the proper knowledge used in 4140 steel design. In this lab, 4140 AR steel is heat
treated into the quenched and tempered state, and also into the fully annealed state. The
properties of hardness, strength, and ductility are compared and carefully analyzed. Upon
completion of this lab, the student will be able to properly discuss the purposes of quenching,
tempering, and annealing 4140 steel. The student will also understand the microscopic
transformations and will be able to relate them to the macroscopic outcomes. These skills will
serve great purpose in future design and material choices.

Procedure
1. Put 0.505-inch-diameter 4140 As Received (AR) steel specimen at room temperature in a
carbon-rich substance.
2. Heat the specimen to about 1600F into the Austenite region.
3. Using tongs, quench the Austenite in oil to room temperature to create Martensite.
4. Perform a Rockwell C hardness test on the As Quenched (AQ) specimen.
5. Temper the specimen at about 1000F for 1 hour.
6. Perform a Rockwell C hardness test on the Quenched and Tempered (QT) specimen.
7. Perform a tensile test on the QT specimen.
a. Be sure to remove the extensometer at 0.1 strain.
8. Create a Fully Annealed (FA) 4140 steel specimen by heating it to the region at about
1600F then turning off the furnace and equilibrium cooling it overnight.
9. Perform a Rockwell B hardness test on the FA specimen.
10. Perform a tensile test on the FA specimen.
a. Be sure to remove the extensometer at 0.2 strain.
11. Use excel to graph the data and determine mechanical properties for further analysis.

Results
Below experimental results for FA, AR, and QT 4140 steel specimens are listed and
compared to literature values in Tables 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Additionally, Figure 1 shows a
complete stress-strain curve for all six samples (two of each) with Tensile Strength (TS) and
Breaking Strength (BS) labeled. The values of the Elastic Modulus (E) and Yield Strength (YS)
are determined for FA, AR, and QT in Figures 2, 3, and 4 respectively.
Table 1: Properties for 4140 FA specimen*

29,700 ksi
60.2 ksi
95,000 psi
92
25.7%

% Difference
A
6.6%
10.3%
33.9%
6.5%
10.8%

% Difference
B
2.4%
10.3%
17.1%
5.9%
5.1%

56.9%

21.8%

20.8%

% Difference
Wed
23.6%
19.7%
26.7%
2.7%
7.9%
26.5%

Property

Sample A

Sample B

Literature

Elastic Modulus
Yield Strength
Tensile Strength
Hardness (HRb)
% Elongation
% Reduction in
Area

27,740 ksi
54 ksi
62,776 psi
86.0
28.48%

28,977 ksi
54 ksi
78,772 psi
86.6
27.00%

44.86%

45.07%

Table 2: Properties for 4140 AR specimen**


Property
Elastic Modulus
Yield Strength
Tensile Strength
Hardness (HRb)
% Elongation
% Reduction in
Area

Sample
Mon
23,917 ksi
74 ksi
103,230 psi
96.5
15.46%

Sample
Wed
22,706 ksi
74 ksi
103,315 psi
96.3
17.80%

29,700 ksi
92.1 ksi
141,000 psi
99
16.5%

% Difference
Mon
19.5%
19.7%
26.8%
2.5%
6.3%

34.28%

35.36%

48.1%

28.7%

Literature

*Literature values found at


http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=7b75475aa1bc41618788f63c6500d3
6b&ckck=1
**Literature values found at
http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=d9811a8822114ea68653e00f1e641c
e9&ckck=1

Table 3: Properties for 4140 QT specimen***


Property
Elastic Modulus
Yield Strength
Tensile Strength
Hardness (HRc) AQ
Hardness (HRc) QT
% Elongation
% Reduction in
Area

% Difference
A
33,866 ksi 29,162 ksi 29,700 ksi
14.0%
166 ksi
168 ksi
140 ksi
18.6%
180,325 psi 186,940 psi 165,000 psi
9.3%
47.7
47.3
42
13.6%
31.9
33.4
35
8.9%
11.30%
15.19%
18.0%
37.2%
Sample A

Sample B

Literature

36.03%

37.46%

56.0%

35.7%

% Difference
B
1.8%
20.0%
13.3%
12.6%
4.6%
15.6%
33.1%

According to the literature values displayed in Tables 1, 2, and 3, strength and hardness
seem to align themselves highest to lowest QT, AR, then FA respectively. Conversely, %
elongation and % reduction in area seem to align themselves highest to lowest FA, QT, then AR
respectively. High percent differences may be due to the furnace calibration needing some
adjustment.

***Literature values for AQ found at


http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=a3cb537b777b4fe299c658b23d4337
8b&ckck=1
Literature values for QT found at
http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=95d75368d1634a2eaf2ab8723510b2
18

Figure 1: Complete Stress-Strain Curves for 4140 Steels


This graph shows the determination of the TS and BS of all samples of FA, AR, and QT 4140
steels.

Figure 2: FA YS and E (a) and (b)


This graph shows the determination of the YS and E for the 4140 FA steel samples (a) and (b).

Figure 3: AR YS and E (mon) and (wed)


This graph shows the determination of the YS and E for the 4140 AR steel samples (mon) and
(wed).

Figure 4: QT YS and E (a) and (b)


This graph shows the determination of the YS and E for the 4140 QT steel samples (a) and (b).

Discussion
Heat treatment of steel is a common practice among material science engineers that helps
control the properties of the steel such as hardness, strength, and ductility. For example,
annealing steel can increase ductility, austenitizing and quenching steel significantly raises
tensile strength, and quenching and tempering adds ductility but maintains a relatively high
tensile strength.
As demonstrated in Tables 1, 2, and 3, the elastic moduli for the heat-treated specimens
were unaffected by the heat treatments and remained relatively the same as the AR specimens.
This was expected because the modulus of elasticity is a linear material property that depends on
inner atomic structure and does not change if the material is strengthened or made more ductile.
As demonstrated in Tables 1, 2, and 3, the tensile strengths and breaking strengths for the
QT specimens were much larger than the FA specimens. On the other hand, the tensile strengths
for the AR specimens were higher than the FA specimens, but the breaking strengths were lower.
These results were expected because quenching steel makes it stronger, while annealing
sacrifices some strength in exchange for ductility.
An annealed specimen consists of ferrite and pearlite. The pearlite consists of cementite
and ferrite. This specimen is formed by raising the temperature of the steel to the austenite
region, and then equilibrium cooling it to the + Fe3C region. The as received specimen
consists of pearlite that is made of ferrite and cementite. This is formed by maintaining the steel
in the + Fe3C region. An as quenched specimen consists of all metastable martensite. This is
formed by heating the steel high enough to enter into the austenite region, and then quickly
quenching it in oil to avoid equilibrium cooling. A quenched and tempered specimen consists of
ferrite and martensite. This specimen is formed by heating the steel into the austenite region,
quickly quenching it in oil to avoid equilibrium cooling, and finally heating it up to an
intermediate temperature within the + Fe3C region.
As demonstrated in Tables 1, 2, and 3, an as received microstructure has medium
hardness and strength, and medium ductility due to its equilibrium microstructure. Annealing a
specimen reduces its hardness and tensile strength, but increases its ductility because the
microstructure formed allows more slip. In contrast, quenching a specimen increases it hardness
and strength significantly, but reduces its ductility to catastrophic levels due to too much
microstructure slip impedance. To make this specimen safer, it can be tempered, which will
maintain relatively high hardness and strength levels, but increase the ductility away from the
brittle, unsafe, region.

Figure 5: Property Trends of 4140 Steel****


This graph demonstrates the dependence of properties of 4140 steel upon tempering temperature.
As seen in Figure 5 above, the tensile strength, yield strength, and hardness of 4140 steel
decrease with increasing tempering temperature. Conversely, % elongation and % reduction in
area increase with increasing temperature. This behavior is expected because at higher
temperatures, dislocation motion occurs more due to inner atomic bonding. Comparing
experimental data to literature values, one can observe that most values are representative of a
tempering temperature around 800F rather than the reported 1000F. This might imply a
calibration issue with the labs furnace.

****Data from Materials & Processing Databook 81. Metal Progress. Vol. 120. No. 1.
American Society for Metals (1981)

In order for a quenched specimen of 4140 steel to be put in the annealed condition, it
would have to first be heated into the austenite region then equilibrium cooled to the + Fe3C
region. After annealing, its microstructure would consist of ferrite and pearlite.
If a part required machining and hardness, it would be machined in the annealed state
because it would be more ductile and easier to shape. Then it would be quenched and tempered
to increase its strength.
If a steel chisel was going to be made, it would require mostly strength and hardness but
some ductility to avoid brittle fracture. The best heat treatment would be to anneal it for shaping,
then quench and temper it for high strength and some ductility.

Conclusion
The purpose of this lab was to get the student familiar with heat treatment of steel. From
performing this lab, the student is now able to fully understand the Fe-Fe3C diagram and explain
the microstructure of steel in any region of the phase-diagram. Also, the student is now able to
make educated decisions on material choices and heat-treated steels. Due to this lab, the student
now comprehends the microscopic and macroscopic effects of austenitizing, quenching,
tempering, and annealing 4140 steel. Choices can now be made in designing materials to actuate
specific combinations of properties in order to maximize usability and minimize catastrophic
failure.

References
*Literature for FA specimens:
http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=7b75475aa1bc41618788f63c6500d3
6b&ckck=1
**Literature for AR specimens:
http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=d9811a8822114ea68653e00f1e641c
e9&ckck=1
***Literature for AQ specimens:
http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=a3cb537b777b4fe299c658b23d4337
8b&ckck=1
Literature for QT specimens:
http://www.matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx?MatGUID=95d75368d1634a2eaf2ab8723510b2
18
****Discussion Data:
Materials & Processing Databook 81. Metal Progress. Vol. 120. No. 1. American Society for
Metals (1981)

Appendix

Sample Calculations:

Calculating the Ultimate Tensile Strength


(UTS)

Calculating Strain

L L0
L0

Strain = =

UTS =

L0 = OriginalLength
L = Length

FMAX
A0

Calculating Total Strain

FMAX = MaximumAppliedLoad
A0 = OriginalCrossSectionalArea

TOTAL = PLASTIC + ELASTIC

Calculating the Breaking Strength (BS)

Calculating Stress

Stress = =

BS =

F
A0

FBREAK = ForceAppliedatRupture

F = Force
A0 = OriginalCrossSectionalArea
Elastic Modulus:

ElasticModulus = E =

Calculating Percent Difference:

%Diff =

Exp Lit
Lit

100%

Exp = ExperimentalValue
Lit = LiteratureValue

FBREAK
A0

Calculating Elongation Percent:

% EL =

LBR L0
100%
L0

LBR =

LengthBetweenGaugeMarksontheBrokenSpecimen

L0 = OriginalLengthBetweenGaugeMarks
Calculating Percent Reduction in Area:

A0 ABR
100%
A0
A0 = OriginalCrossSectionalArea

%RA =

ABR = CrossSectionalAreaatBreak