Induction hardening is a type of heat-treating process that typically subjects a metal part under induction heating and quenching. After conducting this specific process, the metal part is intended to undergo a martensitic formation, allowing it to obtain features and properties that it does not possess before.
The process of induction heating starts by placing a metal part near a copper coil that has a significant level of alternating current. Through eddy current and hysteresis losses, the said coil can generate heat that is directed at or near the surface of the metal part. Subsequently, the metal part is directed or submerged under a water-based quench, which then initiates its aforementioned martensitic formation.
Induction hardening can bring numerous benefits to the processing of different metal parts. The same process, however, also share some disadvantages that manufacturers may encounter along the way.
Advantages of Induction Hardening
- Improved Wear Resistance: One of the advantages of induction hardening is that it can effectively improve the wear resistance of a metal part. Metal parts that have been annealed or treated to a softer condition can significantly obtain improved wear resistance once they undergo this process. After all, any improvement of a part’s hardness can likewise improve its wear resistance.
- Increased Fatigue Life: The residual compressive stress at the surface of a part out of induction hardening can easily obtain a huge improvement over its strength and fatigue life. The induction hardening allows the part to obtain a hardened structure that occupies more volume than its core.
- Customised Hardness Level: With induction hardening, metal parts can now be tempered easily, granting manufacturers the ability to customise their hardness level based on their set requirements. The more these metal parts are tempered, the lower the hardness and brittleness will be.
- MinimisedWarpage: Another advantage of induction hardening is that it does not warp the metal parts significantly. You see, other types of hardening processes are known for warping the metal part and its respective surfaces. But with induction hardening, you can easily process materials without significant and noticeable warpage.
- Notable Low Costs: When it comes to overall costing, induction hardening can be done without spending too much money. The process likewise does not require expensive metal parts. So, if you are thinking of processing low-cost steels, then you may proceed with induction hardening.
Disadvantages of Induction Hardening
- Occurrences of Cracking: As for the disadvantage of induction hardening, the entire process is more prone to causing some cracks on the surfaces of metal parts compared to other heat treatment processes. Induction hardening can also produce hot spots at specific features like keyways, grooves, cross holes, threads, and many more.
- Greater Distortion Levels: Aside from cracking issues, the process of induction hardening can also cause more distortion on the metal parts than other heat treatment processes. This distortion is brought by the martensitic transformation that the part receives during the process.
- Limitation on Materials: Despite the notable low costs of induction hardening, this process can only work on limited materials. This process can only work with materials that contain enough carbon and other elements so they can support all the features caused by the martensitic transformation.
For more information about induction hardening, you can call us at Alpha Detroit Heat Treatment.