Is it Possible to Oil Quench Materials from a Vacuum Furnace?

23 March 2017

This fully contained heat treatment procedure is usually tendered by Alpha Detroit when a workpiece requires a mechanically enhanced, metallurgically consistent finish. Therefore, to answer the initial question, it is possible to oil quench materials from a vacuum furnace, but this technique should only be called upon when superior mechanical properties and a perfectly clean end-line product is specified.

Superior Tensile Strength 

Raised to its transformative temperature in the vacuum furnace, the workpiece remains in the vacuum until it’s transferred to the quenching oil. Back at the airless furnace, there are no convection currents or oxidation effects to corrupt the uniform hardening process. Likewise, as the component cools rapidly in the oil quenching chamber, its uniform cooling curve evenly tempers the hardened alloy so that it’s free of weak spots.

A Multi-chambered Furnace Architecture 

A furnace is an isolated heat treatment asset. A quenching station is similarly self-contained. In multi-chambered vacuum furnace setups, though, the furnace occupies one chamber, the quench enclosure occupies another, and both chambers are contained inside a single overreaching housing. In effect, the superheated component is discharged from its sealed oven, conveyed to the oil chamber, rapidly cooled in that oil, and ejected so that the cycle can begin anew. Meanwhile, the vacuum in the two adjacent but sealed chambers prevents carburization or decarburization, an undesirable process event that causes carbon molecules on the surface of the worked component to react with atmospheric gases. Essentially, if there are no atmospheric gases present, there can be no carburization, so the part leaves the furnace and cooling chamber clean.

Vacuum Oil Quenching Advantages 

If the atmosphere in a furnace creates problems, imagine those problems when a vaporised oil complicates matters. An incautiously conducted quenching cycle can cause parts distortion, or it can even leave residual stresses intact inside the component piece. Nucleate boiling and vapour phased oils complicate this situation. Fortunately, a vacuum oil quenching chamber sidesteps these issues. It once again removes gaseous convection currents so that the component cools evenly. Granted, that cooling effect is rapid, but it still delivers uniformly hardened and tempered workpieces because of this atmosphere free design.

As the only vacuum furnace and vacuum oil quench facility in all of Australia, Alpha Detroit is uniquely equipped to be your high-end parts provider. Our heat treatment units are contaminant free, atmosphere-less, and built to process superior products. These products potentially include aircraft landing struts, structurally capable alloys, and end-cycle metals that are guaranteed to furnish uniformly toughened mechanical attributes.

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