Stress Relieving of Metals: Why is it an Important Part of Heat Treatment?

07 May 2021

Heat treatment is a process wherein metals are heated without reaching their molten phase and subsequently cooled to obtain the desired properties. Different types of ferrous and non-ferrous metals can undergo this process, maximising a wide array of heat treatment methods to produce the needed parts and products of various businesses and industries.

Many businesses have benefitted from heat treatment as the process and its associated methods can generally change the properties of metals. Some of them can increase the hardness of the metal, while others can make it soft. There are likewise heat treatment methods that can relieve stresses of the metal as well as alter their electrical and heat conductivity, making them useful for specific applications.

One vital part of heat treatment is stress relieving. It is done to diminish residual stresses in the metal structure, saving it from dimensional changes that may occur during its manufacturing or intended use.

A Quick Overview of Stress Relieving

Stress relieving, as the name implies, serves as the main way of saving metal workpieces from different effects of stress, which can be obtained from various heat treatment procedures. As a workpiece undergoes different heat treatment procedures, it can obtain different effects that are not truly great. Some of these effects are shape distortion, fractures, cracks, and many more. With stress relieving, these effects, alongside any dimensional changes to metal workpieces, are minimised.

This part of heat treatment is often done after rough machining. It must also be conducted before final finishing like polishing or grinding to ensure that the workpiece can still boast its desired properties.

Stress Relieving Working Principles

The temperature for the stress relieving part would normally range between 550 and 650°C for steel workpieces, 150 and 275°C for copper parts, and 250 and 500°C for brass products, with an average soaking time of around one to two hours. Once the soaking process is done, the workpieces will be consequently cooled down either in the furnace or in the air. The cooling process must be slow and gradual to prevent any instances of tensions that may be generated due to the differences in temperature between the workpieces and the surrounding.

Some metal types, however, might need to be placed in a furnace with protective gas during the stress relieving process to ensure that they will be protected from oxidation. Vacuum furnaces can also be used.

Common Benefits of Stress Relieving

The working principles of stress relieving can provide tons of benefits to various workpieces. For one, this specific process can minimise the stresses that a workpiece can obtain from other heat treatment methods, which would then lower its chances of obtaining cracks and deformation. Stress relieving can likewise allow a workpiece to be machined easier after undergoing heat treatment. The process can also protect the workpiece from volatile surrounding elements, protecting its surface and other properties.

To know more about stress relieving, just reach us at Alpha Detroit Heat Treatment. Our expertise allows us to suggest the most appropriate process for your heat treatment requirements.

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