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The Heat Treatment Process

Heat treatment is defined as an operation involving the heating and cooling of a metal or an alloy in the solid-state to obtain certain desirable properties without changing its composition.


The process of heat treatment is carried out to change the grain size, to modify the structure of the material, and to relieve the stresses set up in the material after hot or cold working.


Heat treatment consists of heating the metal near or above its critical temperature, holding for a particular time at that temperature and finally cooling the metal in a quench medium which may be air, water, brine, or oil. The heat treatment process includes annealing, case hardening, harden and temper, normalizing, nitriding, etc.


Purpose of Heat Treatment of Steel


  • To improve mechanical properties such as tensile strength, hardness, ductility, shock resistance.
  • To improve machinability.
  • To relieve the internal stresses of the metal, induced during cold or hot working.

  • To change or refine grain size.
  • To improve magnetic and electric properties.

  • To increase resistance to wear, and corrosion.
  • To increase the surface hardness.