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EFFECT OF QUENCHING, FOLLOWED BY TEMPERING, ON HARDNESS

Abstract: Heat treatment is an important tool to achieve desired properties in steel. In this experiment effect of quenching followed by tempering is determined. The six samples of AISI 1045 steel were used. Tempering is done at two different temperatures. Muffle furnace was used to achieve the required temperature. Objective: To study the effect of Quenching followed by Tempering on Hardness. Apparatus: Samples of AISI 1045 steel Muffle Furnace Oil for Quenching Tongs Brinell Hardness testing Machine

Related Theory: Introduction: Heat treating is a group of industrial and metalworking processes used to alter the physical, and sometimes chemical, properties of a material. Heat treatment involves the use of heating or chilling, normally to extreme temperatures, to achieve a desired result such as hardening or softening of a material. Heat treatment techniques include annealing, case

hardening, precipitation strengthening, tempering and quenching. It is noteworthy that while the term heat treatment applies only to processes where the heating and cooling are done for the specific purpose of altering properties intentionally, heating and cooling often occur incidentally during other manufacturing processes such as hot forming or welding. The important principles of heat treatment are as follows:
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Phase transformations during heating Effects of cooling rates on structural changes during cooling Effect of crbon content and alloying addition

Quenching: QUENCHING refers to the process of rapidly cooling metal parts from the austenitizing or solution treating temperature, typically from within the range of 815 to 870 C (1500 to 1600 F) for steel. Stainless and high-alloy steels may be quenched to minimize the presence of grain boundary carbides or to improve the ferrite distribution but most steels including carbon, lowalloy, and tool steels, are quenched to produce controlled amounts of martensite in the microstructure. Successful hardening usually means achieving the required microstructure, hardness, strength, or toughness while minimizing residual stress, distortion, and the possibility of cracking. The selection of a quenchant medium depends on the hardenability of the particular alloy, the section thickness and shape involved, and the cooling rates needed to achieve the desired microstructure. The most common quenchant media are either liquids or gases. The liquid quenchants commonly used include: Oil that may contain a variety of additives Water Aqueous polymer solutions Water that may contain salt or caustic additives

Quenching Process: The rate of heat extraction by a quenching medium and the way it is used substantially affects quenchant performance. Variations in quenching practices have resulted in the assignment of specific names to some quenching techniques: Direct quenching Time quenching Selective quenching Spray quenching Fog quenching
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Interrupted quenching

Factors Affecting Heat Transfer Rate. The rate of heat transfer from a part being quenched may be affected by oxidation of the surface. This can either increase or decrease the heat transfer rate, depending on the thickness of the oxide developed. The effect of irregular configuration on heat flow from a gear to the quenching area is illustrated in Fig. 2. High temperatures persist near the surface at the roots of the teeth where large vapor bubbles are trapped. If the gear were induction or flame heated, and thus had a uniformly thin heated layer conforming to the contour, quenching would progress more rapidly and uniformly because heat also would flow simultaneously to the cold metal underlying the heated exterior and the quenchant.

Fig. 1 Comparison of cooling rates and temperature gradients as workpieces pass into and through martensite transformation range for a conventional quenching and tempering process and for interrupted quenching processes. (a) Conventional quenching and tempering processes that use oil, water, or polymer quenchants.

Fig. 2 Temperature gradients and other factors affecting the edgewise quenching of a gear in a quiescent volatile liquid. A, flow of heat from hot core of gear. Temperature and flow rate vary with time; B, vapor blanket stage still exists due to large source of heat and poor agitation; C, trapped vapor bubbles condensing slowly; D, vapor bubbles escaping and condensing Tempering Of Steel Tempering is a process in which previously hardened or normalized steel is usually heated to a temperature below the lower critical temperature and cooled at a suitable rate, primarily to increase ductility and toughness, but also to increase the grain size of the matrix. Steels are tempered by reheating after hardening to obtain specific values of mechanical properties and also to relieve quenching stresses and to ensure dimensional stability. Tempering usually follows quenching from above the upper critical temperature; however, tempering is also used to relieve the stresses and reduce the hardness developed during welding and to relieve stresses induced by forming and machining. Principal Variables: Variables associated with tempering that affect the microstructure and the mechanical properties of tempered steel include: Tempering temperature Time at temperature Cooling rate from the tempering temperature Composition of the steel, including carbon content, alloy content, and residual elements

In a steel quenched to a microstructure consisting essentially of martensite, the iron lattice is strained by the carbon atoms, producing the high hardness of quenched steels. Upon heating, the carbon atoms diffuse and react in a series of distinct steps that eventually form Fe3C or an alloy carbide in a ferrite matrix of gradually decreasing stress level. The properties of the tempered steel are primarily determined by the size, shape, composition, and distribution of the carbides that form, with a relatively minor contribution from solid-solution hardening of the ferrite. These changes in microstructure usually decrease hardness, tensile strength, and yield strength but increase ductility and toughness. Under certain conditions, hardness may remain unaffected by tempering or may even be increased as a result of it. For example, tempering a hardened steel at very low tempering temperatures may cause no change in hardness but may achieve a desired increase in yield strength. Also, those alloy steels that contain one or more of the carbide forming elements (chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten) are capable of secondary hardening; that is, they may become somewhat harder as a result of tempering. Temperature and time are interdependent variables in the tempering process. Within limits, lowering temperature and increasing time can usually produce the same result as raising temperature and decreasing time. However, minor temperature changes have a far greater effect than minor time changes in typical tempering operations. This is discussed in more detail in the section "Tempering Time." With few exceptions, tempering is done at temperatures between 175 and 705 C (350 and 1300 F) and for times from 30 min to 4 h. Experimental Procedure: Firstly, heating a muffle furnace up to a temperature 900C. This is the austenitizing temperature. After heating, we place the three samples in the muffle furnace. Firstly there was a drop in temperature but we were waited for reaching the temperature again 900C. The 1st two steel samples held at this temperature for 45 minutes for the formation of homogeneous structure throughout its mass. After holding the sample for 45 minutes we removed them and quenched them in oil. The steel sample 2nd is heating to a temperature of 950C and held it at this temperature for 20 minutes for the formation of homogeneous structure throughout its mass. After holding the sample for 20 minutes we removed it and quenched in oil.

The steel sample 3rd is heated to a temperature of 1000C and held it at this temperature for 15 minutes for the formation of homogeneous structure throughout its mass. After holding the sample for 15 minutes we removed and quenched in oil.

Air cooling we performed Brinell hardness test on the 3 samples and see that there is any difference in hardness or not.

For Tempering: Firstly we heat the muffle furnace to a temperature of 550C. After heating the furnace, we place the three steel samples (900,950.1000c) in the furnace for 35 minutes. After holding for 35 minutes we removed the samples and cooled them in the air. After Air cooling we performed Brinell hardness test on the 3 samples and see that there is any difference in hardness or not. Similarly, first we rise the temperature of furnace up to 650C. After heating the furnace, we place the three steel samples (900,950.1000c) in the furnace for 35 minutes after holding for 35 minutes we removed the samples and cooled them in the air. After Air cooling we performed Brinell hardness test on the 3 samples and see that there is any difference in hardness or not.

Observation and calculations: Quenching Data : Load (Kg) Diameter of indent(mm) BHN HRc Tempering at 650C: Sample 1 at 900o C Sample 2 at 950o C Sample 3 at 1000o C
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Sample 1 at 900o C 3000 2.6 555 55

Sample 2 at 950o C 3000 2.55 578 56

Sample 3 at 1000o C 3000 2.45 637 59

Load (Kg) Diameter of Ball(mm) Diameter of indent(mm) BHN HRc Tempering at 550C: Load (Kg) Diameter of Ball(mm) Diameter of indent(mm) BHN HRc Graph: 1.

3000 10 3.6 285 30

3000 10 3.52 289 31

3000 10 3.57 290 31

Sample 1 at 900o C 3000 10 3.35 331 36

Sample 2 at 950o C 3000 10 3.37 332 36

Sample 3 at 1000o C 3000 10 3.20 363 39

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Discussion: The Hardness is decreases with the increase in tempering temperature. Tempering is necessary to restore some ductility (i.e., toughness) to the rapidly quenched steel. On re-heating iron-carbon martensite below 727oC, certain metastable carbides (not Fe3C) begin to form as the result of diffusion of carbon out of the carbon-rich Martensite. A mixture of carbides and ferrite results. Through this tempering the hardness of the steel begins to drop. If tempering is continued at a sufficiently high temperature for a long enough period of time, the carbide will eventually be completely converted to cementite (Fe3C). The equilibrium, final state structure would be cementite particles in a ferrite matrix. The toughness of steel is also strongly dependent on the environmental temperature, and can be very low at low temperature. Plain carbon steel shows a greater decrease in hardness during tempering at temperatures above 300C. therefore, they cannot be used for high strength applications where temperature higher than 300C are generated. Resistance to softening of carbon steels can be improved by the addition of alloying elements, such as chromium, nickel, molybdenum, vanadium, etc.Martensite is too brittle to serve engineering purpose. Tempering is necessary to increase ductility and toughness of martensite. Some hardness and strength is lost. Tempering consist on reheating martensitic steels (solution supersaturated of carbon) to temperatures between 150-650C to force some carbide precipitation. In 1st stage 80-160C is transformed into (low C martensite) +
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carbide(Fe2.3C). During 2nd stage 230-280C retained is converted into bainite. At 3rdstage 160-400C + carbide transformed into + Fe3C (tempered martensite) ,3rdstage (cont) 400700oCGrowth and spherodization of cementite and other carbides. Reference: ASM Hand Book, VOl 4, HEAT TREATING, Published in 1991, Quenching of Steel, Tempering of Steel.

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