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What temperature tolerances should I use for the heat treatment of metals and alloys?

   

Frequently Asked Questions

For example, heating materials such as nickel alloys or aluminium alloy to elevated temperatures can be accompanied by metallurgical phenomena such as strong precipitation reactions and grain growth, which in many cases, can be detrimental to material properties within narrow temperature limits. Thus, keeping control of temperature during heat treatment is essential in ensuring the component properties. This can be crucial for critical applications.

British Standard BS 2M 54:1991 (aerospace series) provides specifications for temperature control during heat treatment of metallic parts. It stipulates tolerances for two categories of heat treatment (A and B) with tolerances of ±5°C and ±15°C, depending on the temperature level, and can be used as a guide for most heat treatment operations, coupled with other specifications possibly applied to each individual case.

Many materials, such as stainless steels, are susceptible to adverse precipitation reactions during cooling, so additional constraints should be placed on heating and/or cooling rates to ensure that sensitization or intermetallic formation does not occur. The reader is referred to data on the specific material to be heat treated in such instances.

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