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Technology of Machine Tools


6th Edition

Krar Gill Smid

Heat Treatment of
Steel
Unit 86

Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Permission required for reproduction or display.
86-2

Objectives
Select the proper grade of tool
steel for a workpiece
Harden and temper a carbon-steel
workpiece
Case-harden a piece of machine
steel
86-3

Heat Treatment of Steel


Process of heating and cooling metal in its
solid state in order to obtain desired changes
in its physical properties
Important mechanical properties of steel
Hardened to resist wear and abrasion
Softened to improve ductility and machinability
Heat treated to remove internal stresses, reduce
grain size or increase toughness
86-4

Heat Treating Equipment


Done in specially controlled furnaces which
may use gas, oil or electricity to provide heat
Equipped with safety devices and control
devices to maintain temperature
Equipped with fume hood and exhaust fan
Air switch in exhaust duct operates solenoid
valve which permits main gas valve to open
Should fan fail, air switch also fails, main gas supply
close down
86-5

Furnace Temperature
Controlled by thermocouple and indicating
pyrometer

Temperatureinfurnacerises,thermocouplebecomeshot,and
Currentconductedtopyrometeronwallandcausespyrometer
Whentemperatureinfurnacereachesamountsetonpyrometer,
Temperaturedropsbelowtemperatureindicatedonpyrometer,
duetodissimilarityofwires,smallelectricalcurrentproduced
needletoindicatetemperatureoffurnace
valveconnectedtogassupplyactuatedandflowrestricted
solenoidvalueopens,permittingfullflowofgas
Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Permission required for reproduction or display.
86-6

Types of Furnaces
Low-temperature furnace
Temperatures up to 1300F
High-temperature furnace
Temperatures up to 2500F
Pot-type furnace
Used for hardening and tempering by
immersing part in molten heat-treating medium
which may be salt or lead
Parts do not come into contact with air
86-7

Heat-Treatment Terms
Heat treatment
Heating and subsequent cooling of metals to
produce desired mechanical properties
Decalescence point
Temperature where carbon steel transforms from
pearlite to austenite; 1300F for 83% carbon steel
Recalescence point
Temperature where carbon steel transforms from
austenite to pearlite when being slowly cooled
86-8

Lower critical temperature point


Lowest temperature where steel may be
quenched in order to harden it
Coincides with decalescence point
Upper critical temperature point
Highest temperature where steel may be
quenched to attain maximum hardness and
finest grain structure
Critical range
Temperature range bounded by upper and lower
critical temperatures
86-9

Hardening
Heating of steel above its lower critical
temperature and quenching in proper medium
(water, oil, air) to produce martensite
Tempering (drawing)
Reheating hardened steel to desired temperature
below its lower critical temperature, followed
by any desired rate of cooling
Removes brittleness and toughens steel
Called tempered martensite
86-10

Annealing (full)
Heating metal to just above upper critical point
for required period of time, followed by slow
cooling in furnace, lime, or sand
Will soften metal, relieve internal stresses and
strains and improve machinability
Process annealing
Heating steel to just below lower critical
temperature, followed by any suitable cooling
method
Soften work hardened metals for further cold
working
86-11

Normalizing
Heating steel to just above its upper critical
temperature and cooling it in still air
Done to improve grain structure and remove
stresses and strains (back to normal state)
Spheroidizing
Heating steel to just below lower critical
temperature for prolonged period of time
followed by cooling in still air
Produces grain structure with globular-shaped
particles (spheroids) of cementite which
improves machinability of metal
86-12

Alpha iron
State in which iron exists below lower critical
temperature; atoms form body-centered cube
Gamma iron
State in which iron exists in critical range
Molecules form face-centered cubes
Nonmagnetic
Pearlite
Laminated structure of ferrite
Iron and iron carbide
Condition of steel before heat treatment
86-13

Cementite
Carbide of iron (Fe3C) which is hardener in steel
Austenite
Solid solution of carbon in iron, which exists
between lower and upper critical temperatures
Martensite
Structure of fully hardened steel obtained when
austenite quenched
Characterized by needlelike pattern
86-14

Tempered martensite
Structure obtained after marensite has been
tempered (also known as troosite and sorbite)
Eutechtoid steel
Steel containing just enough carbon to dissolve
completely in iron when steel heated to critical
range (0.80% to .85% carbon)
86-15

Hypereutectoid steel
Steel containing more carbon than will
completely dissolve in iron when heated to
critical range
Hypoeutectoid steel
Steel containing less carbon than can be
dissolved by iron when steel is heated to critical
range
86-16

Problems that Arise in Selection and


Heat Treatment of Tool Steel
1. Not be tough or strong enough for job
2. Not offer sufficient abrasion resistance
3. Not have sufficient hardening penetration
4. May warp during treatment
Becauseoftheseproblems,steelproducersforced
tomanufacturemanytypesofalloysteelstocover
rangeofmostjobs.
86-17
Table 86.1Tool steel
selection guide*
Quench Wear
Group Type Medium Resistance
Toughness
High-speed M O, A, S Very high Low
T O, A, S Very High Low
Hot-work Portion
H A, O
of table Fair
in textbook Good
Cr base
W base W A, O Fair to good
Good
More
Mo detailedMdescription
base O, A, ofS qualities
Highand specifications
Medium of
all types of tool steels, see Table 18 in appendix of text.
86-18

Tool Steel
Classification
Water-hardening
Oil-hardening
Air-hardening
High-speed steels
Identified by manufacturer by trade name
Alpha 8, Keewatin, Nutherm, or Nipigon
86-19

Water-Hardening Tool Steels


Contain from 0.50% to 1.3% carbon, along
with small amounts (0.20%) of silicon and
manganese
Silicon facilitates forging and rolling of material
Manganese helps make steel more sound
Achieve maximum hardness for depth of
about 18 in.
Increase hardenability, toughness and wear
resistance if add chromium or molybdenum
86-20

Water-Hardening Tool Steels


Heated to around 1450F to 1500F
Used where dense, fine-grained outer casing
with touch inner core required
Typical applications: drills, taps, reamers,
punches, jig bushings, and dowel pins
Problems
Distortion and cracking when quenched
86-21

Oil-Hardening Steels
Contains about 0.90% carbon, 1.6%
manganese, and 0.25% silicon
Manganese (>1.5%) increases hardenability of
steel up to 1 in. from each surface
Hardening rapid so less severe quenching
medium (oil) must be used
Retards cooling rate and reduces stresses and
strains in steel which cause warping and
cracking
86-22

Oil-Hardening Steels
Chromium and nickel added to increase
hardness and wear resistance
Higher hardening temperatures1500F to 1550F
Typical applications
Blanking, forming, and punching dies
Precision tools
Broaches
Gages
86-23

Air-Hardening Steels
Due to slower cooling rate, stresses and
strains that cause cracking and distortion
kept to a minimum
Full hardness throughout
Contain about 1.00% carbon, 0.20% silicon,
0.70% manganese, 5.00% chromium,
1.00% molybdenum, and 0.20T vanadium
86-24

Air-Hardening Steels
Higher temperatures: 1600F to 1775F
Applications: large blanking, forming,
trimming, and coining dies; rolls; long
punches; precision tools; and gages
86-25

High-Speed Steels
Used in manufacture of cutting tools such as
drills, reamers, taps, milling cutters, and
lathe cutting tools
Retain hardness and cutting edges even
when operating at red heat
Contains 0.72% carbon, 0.25% manganese,
0.20% silicon, 4% chromium, 18% tungsten,
and 1% vanadium
86-26

High-Speed Steels
Preheated slowly to 1500F to 1600F in
neutral atmosphere and then transferred to
another furnace and quickly brought up to
2300F to 2400F
Generally quenched in oil
Small intricate sections may be air cooled
86-27

Classification of Steel
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and
American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI)
Classification Systems
Use series of four or five numbers
First digit indicates predominant alloying
element
Last two or three digits indicate average carbon
content in points (hundredths of 1% or 0.01%)
86-28

Difference in the Two Systems


AISI system adds prefix indicating the
steelmaking process used
A: basic open-hearth alloy steel
B: acid-Bessemer carbon steel
C: basic open-hearth carbon steel
D: acid-open-hearth carbon steel
E: electric furnace steel
86-29

First Number in Series:


Type of Steel

1. Carbon 5. Chromium
2. Nickel 6. Chromium-vanadium
3. Nickel-chrome 7. Triple alloy
4. Molybdenum 8. Manganese-silicon
86-30

Examples of Steel Identification


A I S I System A2360
Indicates alloy steel made by basic open-hearth process
Indicates steel contains 3.5% nickel
Indicates 0.60% carbon content

S A E System 4170
Indicates chromium-molybdenum steel
Indicates 0.70% carbon content
86-31

Table 86.2SAE classification


of steels
Carbon steels 1xxx
Plain carbon 10xx
Free-cutting (resulfurized screw stock) 11xx
Free-cutting manganese X13xx
High-manganese T13XX
Nickel steels Portion of table 2xxx
0.50% nickel 20xx
1.50% nickel
taken from textbook 21xx
3.50% nickel 23xx
5.00% nickel 25xx
86-32

Heat Treatment of Carbon Steel


Steel heated from room temperature to
upper critical temperature and then
quenched, several changes take place
Critical points when change of state of metal
Decalescence point
Recalescence point
86-33

Experiment to Determine Critical


Points of 0.83% Carbon Steel

1. Select piece of 0.83% carbon steel about 1


in. x 1 in. x 2 in. long and drill small
hole in one end for most of length
2. Insert thermocouple in hole and seal end of
hole with fireclay
3. Place block in furnace and run
thermocouple wire to voltmeter
86-34

4. Light furnace and set temperature for


about 1425F on pyrometer
5. Plot readings of voltmeter needle at
regular time intervals
6. When furnace reaches 1425F, shut down
and let it cool
7. Continue to plot readings until temperature
in furnace drops to approximately 1000F
86-35

Observations and Conclusions


Steel at room temperature consists of
laminated layers of ferrite and cementite
Called pearlite
As steel heated from room temperature,
time/temperature ratio climbs uniformly
until temperature of about 1333F reached
Temp of steel drops although temperature of
furnace rising: Declaescence point
86-36

At decalescence point several changes take


place in steel
1. If observed in furnace, dark shadows in steel
disappear
2. Becomes nonmagnetic
3. Changes caused by change in atomic structure
of steel (atoms rearranged)
Heat (energy) for change drawn from metal so
slight drop in temperature
Layers of iron carbide completely dissolve in iron
to form solid solution known as austenite
86-37

4. At this point, steel if quenched in water,


would show first signs of hardening
5. If steel examined under microscope, notice
grain structure gets smaller
Past decalescence point, get smaller until
reach upper critical temperature
As steel cools, grain size gradually get
larger until point of 1300F reached
Recalescence point
Reverse of atom changing and austenite reverts
back to pearlite and becomes magnetic
86-38

Another Experiment to Demonstrate


Decalescence and Recalescence Points
Decalescence Point
1. Place magnet on firebrick
2. Select to 5/8 in. round piece of 0.90 to
1.00 carbon steel and place it on magnet
3. Place can of cold water under magnet ends
4. Heat piece held to magnet using small flame
Do not allow flame to come into contact with
magnet
86-39

5. When temperature reaches its critical


point, steel will drop into water and
become hardened
Recalescence Point
1. Remove can of water from under magnet
2. Place flat plate under work held on magnet
3. Heat steel until it drops from magnet onto
plate
4. When steel cools, it will become attracted
by magnet
86-40

Summary
When steel loses its magnetic value, drops
into water and change in steel trapped or
stopped
Steel hardens because it does not have time to
revert to another state
When steel not quenched but allowed to cool
gradually from decalescence point, regains its
magnetic value
Steel does not change, merely acquires temporary
characteristics
86-41

Hardening of
0.83% Carbon Steel
Heat uniformly to about 50F over upper
critical temperature and held long enough to
allow sufficient carbon to dissolve and form
solid solution
At this point steel will have smallest grain size
and when quenched, will produce maximum
hardness
Increase in carbon content beyond 0.83%
will not increase hardness
Does increase wear resistance
86-42

Quenching
After steel heated throughout, quenched in
brine, water, or oil to cool it rapidly
During operation:
Austenite transferred into martensite (brittle)
Steel cooled rapidly, austenite prevented from
passing through recalescence point so small
grain size of austenite retained in martensite
Rate of cooling affects hardness of steel
Cracking may occur when quenching
medium too cool
86-43

Method of Quenching
Affects the stresses and strains set up in
metal
cause warping and cracking
Long, flat pieces held vertically above
medium and plunged straight into liquid
Part moved in figure 8 motion
Keeps liquid at uniform temperature and prevents air
pockets from forming on steel
86-44

Metcalf's Experiment
Simple experiment demonstrates effect
various degrees of heat have on grain
structure, hardness, and strength of tool
steel
Experiment
1. Select piece of SAE 1090 about 12 in. in
diameter and about 4 in. long
2. With sharp, pointed tool, cut shallow
grooves approximately 12 in. apart
86-45

3. Number each section


4. Heat bar with an oxyacetylene torch,
bringing section 1 to white heat
5. Keep section 1 at white heat, and heat
sections 4 and 5 to cherry red
Do not apply heat to sections 6 to 8
6. Quench in cold water or brine
7. Test each section with edge of file for
hardness
8. Break off sections and examine grain
structure under microscope
Copyright The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Permission required for reproduction or display.
86-46

Results of Experiment
Sections 1 and 2 have been overheated
Break easily and grain structure very coarse
Section 3
Requires more force to break and grain structure
somewhat finer
Sections 4 and 5
Greater strength and resistance to shock with finest grain
structure
Sections 6 to 8
Underheated, require greatest force to break, bends
86-47

Tempering
Process of heating hardened carbon or alloy
steel below its lower critical temperature
and cooling it by quenching in liquid or air
Imparts toughness to metal but decreases
hardness and tensile strength
Modifies structure of martensite, changing
it to tempered martensite, which is softer
and tougher than martensite
86-48

Tempering and Drawing


Factors affecting tempering and drawing
temperature
1. Toughness required for part
2. Hardness required for part
3. Carbon content of steel
4. Alloying elements present in steel
86-49

Tempering Facts
Hardnessobtainedaftertemperingdepends
ontemperatureusedandlengthoftime
workpieceisheldattemperature
Generally,hardnessdecreasesand
toughnessincreasesastemperature
increased
Lengthoftemperingtimeincreasedfora
specificpart,hardnessofmetaldecreases
86-50

More Tempering Facts


Temperingtimetooshort,stressesand
strainssetupbyhardeningnottotally
removedandmetalbrittle
Thecrosssectionalsizeoftheworkpiece
affectsitstemperingtime
86-51

Tempering Colors
When steel heated from room temperature
to red heat, passes through several color
changes caused by oxidation of metal
Color changes indicate approximate
temperature of metal and used as guide
when tempering
86-52
Table 86.3Tempering colors and
approximate temperatures for
carbon steel
Color F C Use
Pale yellow 430 220 Lathe tools, etc.
Light straw 445 230 Milling cutters, drills,
reamers
Dark straw 475 245 Taps and dies
Brown 490 255 Scissors, shear blad
Brownish-purple 510 265 Axes and wood chis
Purple 525 275 Cold chisels, center
Bright blue 565 295 Screwdrivers, wrenches
Dark blue 600 315 Woodsaws
86-53

Annealing
Heat-treating operation used to soften metal and
improve its machinability
Relieves internal stresses and strains caused by
previous operations, such as forging or rolling
Procedure
1. Set pyrometer approximately 30F above upper
critical temperature and start furnace
2. Place part in furnace; bring to temperature and
allow to soak 1 hour per inch of thickness
3. Shut off furnace and allow part to cool slowly
86-54

Normalizing
Performed on metal to remove internal stresses
and strains and to improve its machinability
Procedure
1. Set pyrometer approximately 30F above upper
critical temperature of metal and start furnace
2. Place part in furnace, bring to temperature, allow
part to soak for 1 hour per inch of thickness
3. Remove part from furnace and allow to cool
slowly in still air (may pack in lime to retard
cooling rate)
86-55

Spheroidizing
Process of heating metal for extended
period to just below lower critical
temperature
Produces special kind of grain structure
whereby cementite particles become
spherical in shape
Done on high-carbon steel to improve
machinability
86-56

Procedure for Spheroidizing


1. Set pyrometer approximately 30F below
lower critical temperature of metal and start
furnace
2. Place part in furnace and allow it to soak
for several hours at this temperature
3. Shut down furnace and let part cool slowly
to about 1000F
4. Remove part from furnace and cool in still
air
86-57

Case-Hardening Methods
Cheaper than heat treating carbon steel
Produces hard outer case with soft inner core
Often preferable to through-hard parts
Several methods
Carburizing
Carbonitriding
Nitriding
86-58

Carburizing
Process whereby low-carbon steel, when
heated with some carbonaceous material,
absorbs carbon into its outer surface
Depth of penetration depends on time,
temperature, and carburizing material used
Three methods
Pack carburizing
Liquid carburizing
Gas carburizing
86-59

Procedure for Pack Carburizing


Generally used when hardness depth of
penetration of .060 in. or more required
Parts to be carburized packed with
carbonaceous material such as activated
charcoal in sealed steel box
Procedure
1. Place 1 to 1 in layer of carbonaceous
material in bottom of steel box to fit in
furnace
86-60

2. Place parts to be carburized in box, leaving


about 1 in. between parts
3. Pack carburizer around parts and cover
parts with about 1/ in material
4. Tap sides of box to settle material and to
pack it around workpieces
Excludes most of air
5. Place metal cover over box and seal
around joint with fireclay
6. Place box in furnace and bring temperature
up to 1700F
86-61

7. Leave box in furnace long enough to give


required penetration
Rate generally .007 to .008 in./h; decreases as
depth of penetration increases
8. Shut down furnace and leave box in
furnace until it cools (may be 12 to 16 hr)
9. Remove box from furnace and take out
parts and clean them
10. Heat parts to proper critical temperature in
furnace and quench in oil or water
86-62

Procedure for Liquid


Carburizing
1. Place carburizing material into pot furnace; heat
until molten and reaches proper temperature
2. Preheat part to be carburized to approximately
800F in low temperature drawing furnace
3. Suspend parts in liquid carburizer and leave them
for time required to give desired penetration
From .015 to .020 in. for first hour; .010 in. each
succeeding hour
4. Use dry tongs to remove parts; quench parts
immediately in water
86-63

Cautions: Liquid Carburizers


Some contain cyanide Use Extreme Care
Avoid letting any moisture come in contact
Cause explosion
Heat jaws of tongs before using to remove
moisture or oil
Avoid inhaling fumes; they are toxic
Wear protective clothing when removing
and quenching parts
86-64

Gas Carburizing
Used on parts where over .060 in. depth of case
hardening required and where necessary to grind
parts after carburizing
Requires special types of furnaces
Process:
Parts placed in sealed drum, natural gas introduced,
workpieces heated, gas exhausts at one end and burned
to prevent air from entering chamber, carbon from gas
absorbed by workpiece
Parts remain in drum for time to give desired
penetration, removed and quenched, then repeated
86-65

Carbonitriding Processes
Both carbon and nitrogen absorbed by
surface of steel workpiece when heated to
critical temperature to produce hard, shallow
outer case
Done by liquid or gas methods
Cyaniding liquid carbonitriding
Carbonitriding gas cyaniding
86-66

Cyaniding
Process uses salt bath composed of cyanide-
carbonate-chloride salts
Carried out in pot-type furnace
Parts suspended in liquid cyanide bath,
temperature above lower critical point of
steel being used; penetration about .005 to .
010 in. in 1 hour at 1550F; parts quenched
in water or oil
After hardening, wash to remove cyanide
86-67

Carbonitriding
Carried out in special furnace
Workpieces put into inner drum of furnace
Mixture of ammonia and carburizing gas
introduced and circulated through chamber;
heated externally to 1350F
Workpiece absorbs carbon from gas and
nitrogen from ammonia
Parts removed from furnace and quenched
in oil
Penetration .030 in. in 4-5 h at 1700F
86-68

Nitriding Processes
Used on certain alloy steels to provide
maximum hardness
Two methods
Salt bath nitriding
Hardened part suspended in molten nitriding salt at
900F to 1100F
Improves durability on high-speed taps, drills,
reamers
Gas nitriding
86-69

Gas Nitriding
Uses atmospheric furnace
Parts placed in airtight drum; heated externally
to temperature of 900F to 1150F
Ammonia gas circulated through chamber
Decomposes into nitrogen and hydrogen
Nitrogen penetrates outer surface of workpiece
Slow process
No quenching of part required
Used on parts that have been hardened and
ground
86-70

Surface Hardening of Medium-


Carbon Steels
Need medium- or high-carbon content to be
surface hardened
Retain soft inner core
May be surface hardened by flame or
induction hardening
Depends on size of part and application
86-71

Induction Hardening
Part surrounded by coil through which
high-frequency electrical current is passed
Current heats surface of steel to above
critical temperature in few seconds
Automatic spray of water, oil or compressed
air used to quench and harden part
Only surface heated, so hardness localized
at surface
86-72

Induction Hardening
Depth of hardness governed by current
frequency and heating-cycle duration
Frequencies vary from 1 kHz to 2 MHz
Higher produce shallow hardening depths
Lower produce hardening depths up to in.
Used for selective hardening of gear teeth,
splines, crank shafts, camshafts, and
connecting rods
86-73

Flame Hardening
Used extensively to harden ways on lathes
and other machine tools, as well as gear
teeth, splines, crank shafts, etc.
Surface of metal heated very rapidly to
above critical temperature and hardened
quickly by quenching spray
Immediate tempering removes strains created
by hardening process