Steel alloys, compared to many other tough metals manufactured on the planet, remain the hardest and toughest metal.
However, if you’re seeking an effective and efficient way to manufacture long-lasting and durable steel materials, the Case hardening process is just what you need. Irrespective of its application, a steel metal that has gone through case hardening will do you a good deal.
If you’re still not convinced on why you should consider choosing case hardening for your steel metals, below are a few reasons to consider.
Reasons To Consider Case Hardening
With case Hardening, there are several benefits added to increase the longevity, usability, and durability of your metal. If you’re dealing with objects that will often be exposed to tough activities or usage, case Hardening will help to toughen up the exterior without tampering with its flexibility.
Case hardening helps to ensure that the soft interior of your metal is preserved, retaining its shock absorbance. Additionally, the exterior of your metal is completely hardened, making it less susceptible to wear and tear. This in turn increases the longevity of your metal material even in harsh and extreme conditions.
Welding steel materials can prove a bit difficult especially under certain conditions. With Case Hardening, welding your steel material becomes less difficult since the Hardening process does not tamper with the interior flexibility of the metal.
If you’re considering what possible ways you can harden your steel material using the Case Hardening Process, here are some of the most widely used methods.
Carburising involves the use of carbon to harden the exterior surface of your steel metal material. Through the process of Carburising, your metal material becomes harder and even more durable.
For a successful hardening process, the steel metal will have to be heated to a temperature of about 9000°C. Upon reaching the aforementioned temperature, the metal is then exposed to large amounts of carbon in any preferable state (gas, liquid, or solid). By exposing the metal to carbon, the carbon diffuses into the metal and hardens it.
Although carburising is way more expensive than other steel case hardening processes, it also happens to be one of the most powerful steel case hardening methods.
When using liquid carbon during the carburising process, the level of hardness may differ across all areas of the steel metal. Using metal steel that does not have a uniform hardness across all areas may have a negative effect in some applications.
Carburising requires the use of a controlled environment for the hardening process to be truly successful. Sudden or uncontrolled exposure to oxygen can cause a change in the hardening process. Exposure to oxygen during the hardening process can lead to inconsistencies in the hardness of the metal.
Some hardening processes often utilise the use of a partial vacuum to reduce the risk of exposure to oxygen during the hardening process. Partial vacuums also shorten the time it takes to completely harden the steel metal. Shortening the time of the hardening process is also beneficial as it saves you time and resources.
Nitriding Your Steel Metal
For those who prefer operating at lower temperatures, nitriding is a good choice for your steel case hardening process. Nitriding metals require only a temperature of about 5000 degrees for the process to be fully complete. Nitriding involves the use of nitrogen atoms to harden or strengthen your steel metal. Once your metal is fully heated to 5000 degrees, the nitrogen atoms penetrate the exterior of the metal, increasing its durability and longevity.
Nitriding helps to harden steel metals making them less susceptible to wear and tear even when used in harsh and extreme conditions. Despite the overwhelming results of nitriding on steel metals, the process is proven to be suitable for only a selected range of steel.
Nitriding requires you to properly grind the material after the nitriding process. Grinding is a very expensive process as it requires a lot of effort to penetrate through the hard surface of the material.
Nitriding has proven to be a widely chosen method by fabricators despite having so many downsides. Once the metal is fused with the nitrogen atom, there is no heat-requiring process as you go on. This reduces the chances of any form of deformation on your metal.
Steel Metal Cyaniding
Cyaniding is a perfect steel case hardening for those who prefer fusing in a liquid bath. Cyanide uses both nitrogen and carbon placed in a liquid bath for hardening metals. Cyaniding offers you the best of both the nitriding and carburising process, giving you a strong and hardened metal.
The process however has a single drawback which might be a hindrance for some users. Cyaniding poses a risk to the environment as it has a huge impact on the surrounding environment. The cyanide waste obtained from the hardening process may prove difficult to manage. There are no liquid baths for certain carbons in place of cyanide which would have been a great alternative for those who prefer liquid baths.
Despite being able to still carry out the process to an extent, there are still two other processes to complete. Cyaniding requires extra work which can be pretty tasking.
Flame Hardening for Metals
It is also possible to harden your steel metals by using just water and fire. This might seem a bit far-fetched, but you can break down the entire hardening process to just the use of only water and fire. You can save a whole lot of time and money with this process.
With an oxyacetylene torch at your disposal, you can conveniently heat your steel to the required temperature to begin the hardening process. Once the metal is heated to the right temperature, you can then cool the metal down with water and give some time for the reaction to occur.
This method allows you to have complete control of your entire hardening process. Although there will be less damage done to your metal, it also attracts an investment cost. You may need to also go through other additional processes for your material to be fully hardened.
Flame hardening hands you the ability to harden a selected portion of your metal product without affecting other areas of the metal. Depending on the size and shape of your metal, this process can either be beneficial or detrimental to you. Getting the service of a professional and well-skilled operator increases the chances of a successful hardening process.
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