Vacuum hardening and tempering is a heat treatment process used to increase the hardness and strength of metals, particularly steel, by heating them to high temperatures in a vacuum environment. The vacuum environment is used to prevent oxidation and decarburization of the material during the heating process.
The process of vacuum hardening and tempering typically involves several steps. First, the metal parts to be treated are loaded into a vacuum furnace. The furnace is then sealed, and a vacuum is created inside the chamber. This vacuum ensures that the metal parts are heated in an oxygen-free environment, preventing any oxidation or decarburization of the material.
Next, the metal parts are heated to a specific temperature, typically in the range of 1030 to 1200 degrees Celsius, depending on the type of steel and the desired properties. This temperature is held for a period of time, typically ranging from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the thickness and composition of the parts.
After the desired temperature and time have been reached, the metal parts are then rapidly cooled, or quenched, to room temperature to "freeze" the metallurgical structure. This rapid cooling locks in the desired properties, such as increased hardness and strength. Finally, the parts are tempered by reheating them to a lower temperature, typically between 450 and 700 degrees Celsius, to relieve any residual stresses and improve toughness. This step is important to prevent the parts from becoming brittle and to ensure that they have the desired mechanical properties.
Vacuum hardening and tempering is often used in the tool room, aerospace, automotive, and medical industries, where high strength, wear resistance, and durability are required. The process can be applied to a variety of steel alloys, including tool steels, high-speed steels, and stainless steels.Request A Quote