In addition to its usual R&D and consultancy services, TWI expertise extends to understanding the application of heat treatment processes to refine and optimise the performance of a range of engineering materials. This can be basic post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) schedules for common structural and high strength steel grades, extending to more complex or bespoke applications such as the following example -
The Thermal Processes and Technologies (TPT) section at TWI has been asked to perform a number of specialist heat treatment cycles for Member Companies. Recent work has included the performance of a bespoke 10 step heat treatment and gas quench, as well as annealing of a laser deposited Inconel 718 material.
Making use of TWI's facilities can offer a number of benefits, including access to temperatures and atmospheres not generally available. This can avoid potential contamination of critical environments or simply the ability to perform the run without interrupting a production schedule.
TWI can develop and perform bespoke heat treatment cycles in air, in vacuum or with an inert gas backfill. A large proportion of the work is carried out in a furnace with facility for inert gas backfill and/or a rapid gas quench. A further two vacuum furnaces are available for heat treatment work. The maximum temperature capability of the vacuum furnaces is 2000°C.
Other facilities include a range of air/inert gas furnaces (box and tube types) with a maximum temperature capability of 1600°C and the ability to perform direct quench to oil or water. All the furnaces can be monitored with specifically positioned thermocouples to produce an accurate thermal profile throughout the run.