Tech Talk

Metals in High Stress Applications Benefit from Vacuum Heat Treating Services

September 11, 2012

Metals in high stress and in application greatly benefit from vacuum heat treating services. Take for example, aircraft engine parts, such as chassis covers and nose cones, or auto racing bell housings. In application, these parts are critical and they must stand up to the stress of their operating environments.

Vacuum heat treating services help harden, soften or stress-relieve metals by heating and cooling metals quickly in a controlled, oxygen-free, environment. This rapid heating and cooling alters the metal’s physical properties without changing the part’s shape.

Not only can vacuum heat treating services bolster the strength of a part, but it can also soften parts for further forming. Often, parts in high-stress environments, like the aerospace industry for example, are also irregularly shaped and difficult to form. These parts may require multiple forming operations. Vacuum heat treating services can soften the metal so it can be formed to the part’s specific shape, but also helps make the metal stronger and more likely to withstand stress.

Ferrous metals like steel, brass, bronze and super alloys respond well to vacuum heat treating services. The metals are inserted into a vacuum furnace that has had all the oxygen removed. Oxygen reacts with metal parts in different ways depending on the specific material. Reactions at room temperature are often minimal but as the furnace heats to 2,400 degrees, the potential for reaction multiplies greatly. Further, removing oxygen from the furnace prevents the threat of contamination and heat transfer through convection.

In a process called quenching, the chamber heats to its top temperature and then quickly lowers. Then a thin layer of material is scaled from the metal’s surface. Depending on the part and its material, the process could take anywhere between three and 24 hours. Quickly heating and cooling metal makes parts extra strong and durable, which is critical in certain applications where part failure is simply not an option.

After the treatment, parts are ready for additional forming, shiny and blemish-free, without any discoloration or oxidation and don’t require any further cleaning.

To learn more about vacuum heat treating services from Jones Metal, call us at 740-545-6381.

About Jones Metal Products-Based in West Lafayette, Ohio, JMP is an industry leader in hydroforming, deep draw stamping, and heat treating for the aerospace, commercial lighting, automotive, cookware, health-care and defense markets.