Heat Treating of Spherical Radius Items

26 July 2016

Heat Treating of Spherical Radius Items

If we’ve placed a great deal of emphasis on materials, there’s a good reason for this seemingly off-kilter approach. Materials must be heat treated if the mechanical and physical properties of a component are to comply with the rigorous requirements found in today’s industrial applications. Now, with that important fact clarified, let’s introduce our audience to one of the sophisticated dimensional variables encountered in today’s contemporary engineering scenarios.

The Heat Treating of Spherical Radius Items

It’s hard enough targeting the microcrystalline structure of a flattened profile, so imagine the ramifications incurred by a curving outline, a metallic shape that has an inner and outer surface area. Simple geometry says that the two radial tracks curve identically when they’re part of a concentric configuration, but the thickness or distance between the two curving surfaces will dictate overall surface area. In short, due to the outer diameter of the part having a slightly larger surface area, a location-sensitive heat treatment method is needed.

Heat Treating Bearing Races

Bearings use the above profile. Two or more races cage a series of sliding elements, and these elements skate along the tracks when a rotating mechanism turns. The bearings use balls and flattened pins to keep the two races separate, which is just as well since heavy loads and high velocities generate friction, a loss factor that’s observed as heat. Fortunately, the heat treating of spherical radius items works its magic on both the inner and outer race surface areas. An induction hardening methodology is typically employed here, with the targeted hardening process specifically addressing the load-carrying characteristics of this essential friction-inhibiting mechanism.

Scaling with Flame Hardening Tools

As the focused induction heating method armours arcing ball races, thus preventing heat and load-induced fractures, the flame hardening technique finds its own way into processes that harden larger curving surfaces. Vehicle axles and turbine drive shafts gain hard-as-nails toughness by passing through oxy-fuel jets, ignited flames that reach unimaginable temperatures. The heat treatment trial-by-fire regime strengthens the entire cylindrical form by rotating the component, but a quench stage also adds immersion-derived toughness to specified sections of the part.

It’s true that statically mounted structural parts bear mechanically challenging design loads, but rotating parts are located at the crux of all moving machinery. They’re the power transmitters and heat mitigators of the industrial realm, so the heat treating of spherical radius items must be attended to with diligent engineering acumen, for if one of these drive shafts or bearings were to fail, everything would come to a halt.

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