In adding chemistry to heat, we gain a powerful partnership, a fine means of blending two contrasting metal treatment techniques. Heat, obviously, changes the mechanical characteristics of a processed metal. On the other hand, chemical solutions support and even enhance thermal treatment cycles by providing a secondary transformative pathway. The nitriding process is an eloquent example of process-blending alchemy, an instance where surface hardening pairs chemical compounds with heat to surface harden steel parts.
Oxidation is a chemical reaction that takes place between oxygen molecules and the floating ring of electrons that orbit another element. Rusting iron is an out of control example of oxidation, a reaction that weakens the mechanical strength of the metal, and will actually see the material waste away unless it’s treated or coated in a special finish.