Tons of industries maximise tools and products that are made from metal parts and components. But before they can be processed further, they must all be subjected to heat treatment first.

Heat treatment is a process wherein the properties of the metal materials are strengthened and improved. This specific process is often conducted by putting them in various heating and cooling operations. Most of the time, heat treatment activities can easily relieve the stresses of the parts, allowing them to be machined or welded easily. Other changes that heat treatment activities can introduce to the materials are increased strength, wear resistance, and improved electric and magnetic properties.

Various metals can attain these qualities. One of these metals is aluminium.

Common Properties of Aluminium

Aluminium is known to be the most abundant metallic element on the planet, which makes it one of the most utilised nonferrous metals today.

As stated, this specific metallic element belongs to the classification of nonferrous metal, which means that it does not contain appreciable amounts of iron. This specific quality makes aluminium more resistant to rust and corrosion compared to ferrous metals. Aside from its respectable corrosion resistance, aluminium is also notable for its high ductility, valuable hardness, high malleability, excellent conductivity, and appealing looks.

To make aluminium more useful for industrial applications, it will often be mixed and combined with other elements. Some elements that can be added to aluminium are copper, magnesium, silicon, and zinc. The addition of elements further improves its strength, workability, corrosion resistance, and conductivity.

The Importance of Stress Relieving

One heat treatment activity that can be utilised in processing aluminium parts and products is stress-relieving. Stress-relieving is a heat treatment activity that subjects the aluminium to a constant temperature below its critical temperature. After the heating process, the aluminium parts or products will then be exposed to controlled cooling. Through stress relieving, any accumulated internal or residual stresses that they possess will be removed. 

Internal or residual stresses often come from previous manufacturing processes. Without removing these stresses, the aluminium parts or products may deform, corrode, or experience fatigue. 

Other types of stresses that this particular heat treatment activity deals with are structural stress and thermal stress. Structural stress is defined as the tensile strength of the material whenever it is under applied conditions or forces. Thermal stress, alternatively, develops whenever an extremely high temperature is present, which can lead to metal contraction or expansion.

Stress Relieving Aluminium Parts

Different operations can be conducted to ensure that aluminium parts can relieve unnecessary stresses. 

One of these operations is annealing. During annealing, the aluminium materials will be exposed at a temperature of around 50% of their melting point. With annealing, their microstructures are expected to change, leading to the reduction of hardness, increase in ductility, and elimination of internal stresses.

Another operation that can relieve unnecessary stresses of aluminium parts is solution heat treatment. This operation is done by soaking the parts in a high-temperature solution before quenching them. Any dissolved elements will be trapped and precipitated out, leading to an age-hardening effect.

To know more about stress-relieving aluminium, you can call us at Alpha Detroit Heat Treatment.