Heat Treatment and Martensitic Stainless Steels

24 May 2021

There are a lot of products today that are comprised of metal parts and components. And with a wide array of metal materials that can be processed to generate these parts and components, their existence in different industries truly makes them valuable for various applications.

One of the metal materials that are often used for producing parts and components is stainless steel. Generally, stainless steel has excellent resistance to corrosion and temperature. It also boasts high tensile strength, respectable durability, and ease of formability and maintenance. It even has an attractive appearance that makes it perfect for applications that prioritise looks and aesthetics. Stainless steel, ultimately, can be recycled. Most of these qualities are present in different types of stainless steel.

All About Martensitic Stainless Steels

Stainless steels can be grouped based on their crystalline structure. And one of the groups of stainless steel that is common today is martensitic stainless steel. Martensitic stainless steel is a specific type of stainless steel that is known for its durability, strength, and corrosionresistance. These qualities are present in this type of stainless steel since it is composed of chromium, carbon, and nickel. Some other elements of this type of steel are manganese, nickel, and molybdenum.

The main qualities of martensitic stainless steel allow it to be useful in a wide variety of applications. This type of stainless steel can even perform different industrial functions and withstand the surrounding elements. Some products that can be made from martensitic stainless steel are cutlery, cookware, surgical and dental instruments, industrial blades, turbines, vehicle stampings, and many more.

Treating Martensitic Stainless Steels

Given the overall composition of martensitic stainless steel, it can be easily processed by heat treatment. Usually, the martensitic stainless steel may undergo the process of hardening, which allows it to be heated first to high temperatures before letting it cool rapidly.

As for minimising stresses, the same material may be reheated at lower temperatures. Alternatively, the hardened martensitic stainless steel can be reheated at a slightly higher temperature to soften it and attain intermediate hardness levels. Annealing can also be done to this type of stainless steel, which is a process that subjects the alloy to below its critical temperature. Allowing the alloy to cool for a long time after being exposed to its above critical temperature is also possible through full annealing.

Different Heat Treatment Techniques

Age hardening, annealing, quenching, and tempering are few heat treatment methods that martensitic stainless steels can handle. After all, their atoms can achieve the needed hardness and strength once they are heated and rapidly cooled. 

Age hardening is done by heating the martensitic stainless steel and allowing precipitates to form. Subsequently, the material is stored for a long time at a high temperature, allowing it to obtain increased strength. Annealing, as previously stated, is done by subjecting the alloy to below its critical temperature, ensuring that it can be easier to process. Heating, rapid cooling, and reheating are processes involved in quenching and tempering, which can make the martensitic stainless steel ductile.

To know more about heat treatment and martensitic stainless steel, just contact us at Alpha Detroit Heat Treatment.

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