Term Paper: Hardening and Tempering of Steel

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Steel Tempering: Section 8

Increase Hardness

Strength will decrease slightly at temperatures below 400, then increase. Hardness and ductility are largely unaffected by heating at temperatures below 400, but also increase after this temperature is reached. Toughness is imparted at lower levels of heating, and can be diminished by higher heating.

The actual effects of hardening followed by quenching on steel microstructures can vary greatly depending on the specific alloy of steel being tempered, but essentially the heating allows crystalline structures to form in the steel which greatly increase the hardness of the steel, while the tempering and quenching act on these crystals to reduce fracture points and thus decrease brittleness and cracking.

Low tempering temperatures are used to increase toughness, while higher tempering is needed to increase the strength and hardness of steel. Ductility is also affected by higher heats, though to a lesser degree.


Tempering time can greatly affect the strength and toughness of the steel, with faster times (especially faster quenching) creating much more brittle steels in many instances (though this s actually reversed in certain steels). Overall, however, the temperature of the tempering process appears to have a greater effect on the mechanical properties of the steel produced.

7) There appeared to be greater change in mechanical properties at some times than would be expected based on the published literature. This variance is probably the result of a lack of true precision (and accuracy, possibly) in many measurements as well as the lack of conditions actually controlled to a point that the results of this research would be empirically valid.

8) Impact testing.

9) i. Less than 400/toughness is more important than hardness; high temperatures would cause greater brittleness, and the direction of force applied to the tool during its use could cause it to snap

ii. Temperatures of 400 and greater/the force experienced by the die is compression, and the hardness of the crystal structures formed at these temperatures is required for prolonged use

10) a. Applications: structural elements, making of intricate shapes (cutting dies) Mechanical property: ductility

b. Applications: deep-draw dies, jack-hammers

Mechanical… [END OF PREVIEW]

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