Common Tips to Reduce Cracking during Induction Hardening

08 May 2023

Heat treatment is the process of heating metals without melting them and cooling them in a controlled way. The purpose of this process is to ensure that the workpieces will acquire the desired mechanical properties of the industries. Some common properties that heat-treated metals acquire include corrosion resistance, increased ductility, and enhanced malleability.

One type of heat treatment process that is often carried out by the metalworking industry is surface hardening. Manufacturers often conduct this process to improve the hardness and wear resistance of metal component surfaces.

A popular method under surface hardening is induction hardening. It can be carried out to increase the hardness and wear resistance of metal components. Cracks, however, can form and develop on these materials, which can cause them to fail prematurely. To reduce cracking during induction hardening, here are some tips that you should follow.

Pick the Right Material

The material that will be utilised for induction hardening can have a significant impact on the likelihood of cracking. And so, you must avoid materials that are more susceptible to cracking. Those with high carbon content, for instance, should not be used for induction hardening as they tend to crack more than those with low carbon content. Materials with better hardenability can also be used instead for induction hardening.

Regulate Heating Rates

Too high heating rates can often lead to rapid expansion and contraction of the metal workpieces. These materials will then eventually crack. To reduce the likelihood of cracking, the heating rates should be controlled at a slow rate. Using lower power or longer heating times to achieve the desired temperature can be carried out during the induction hardening process rather than trying to heat the component too quickly.

Avoid Overheating

Related to the previous tip, you must avoid overheating at all costs as it can cause the metal to become brittle, which then leads to the cracking of the workpiece. The component that will undergo induction hardening should be heated to the correct temperature and not overheated. This tip can be achieved by maximising accurate temperature monitoring equipment and subsequently controlling the power output of the induction heating system.

Achieve a Slower Quenching Rate

Quenching is vital to achieving the desired hardness in the metal. However, if the quenching process is carried out too quickly or with the wrong medium, the likelihood of the metals cracking can increase significantly. Maintaining slower quenching rates or utilising a different quenching medium can reduce the chances of materials getting cracks.

Use Fixtures or Jigs

During induction hardening, materials may get distorted and eventually crack due to uneven heating and quenching. Therefore, you must utilise actions that can minimise distortion. To do this, you must use fixtures or jigs so that the components involved can be held in place during heating, quenching, and other vital heat treatment processes.

Cracking during induction hardening can be a common problem. However, it can be mitigated by taking appropriate precautions. You can work with us at Alpha Detroit Heat Treatment if you want to attain high-quality metal workpieces.

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