Heat treatment (metallurgy)
Averbach, Benjamin L. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:August 2019
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- Steels and other ferrous alloys
- General principles
- Annealing heat treatments
- Hardening treatments
- Surface treatments
- Nonferrous metals and alloys
- Annealing treatments
- Precipitation and age hardening
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A procedure of heating and cooling a metal or alloy without melting. The heating and cooling sequence may involve temperatures above, below, and at the ambient. Controlled heating and cooling rates, and a variety of furnace atmospheres and heating media may be used (Fig. 1). Plastic deformation may be included in the sequence of heating and cooling steps, thus defining a thermomechanical treatment. Typical objectives of heat treatments are hardening, strengthening, softening, improved formability, improved machinability, stress relief, and improved dimensional stability. Heat treatments are often categorized with special names, such as annealing, normalizing, stress relief anneals, process anneals, hardening, tempering, austempering, martempering, intercritical annealing, carburizing, nitriding, solution anneal, aging, precipitation hardening, and thermomechanical treatment. See also: Alloy; Metal
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