What happens, why it’s done and how it benefits steel applications

Whether you’re looking for a material with wear resistance for a long service life, the ability to resist cracking following impact or a range of other characteristics, heat treating can draw out these qualities for optimal results and performance. If you think heat treating is a necessary step in your manufacturing process, this paper discusses some of the key concepts in the process.

Part 1

Common heat treating steps

Part 2

Why Steel?

Part 3

Heat treating and material applications

Part 4

Tying it all together


Heat treating is done to give a certain material specific mechanical properties. These outcomes— which depend on the base material being used, the processes used to obtain them, and the applications the material is destined for— allow manufacturers to work with raw materials uniquely suited to their purposes. Whether those properties wear resistance for a long service life, or the ability to resist cracking following impact, heat treating draws these desired characteristics out of the material for optimal results and performance. 

If heat treating is a necessary step in your manufacturing process, this paper discusses some variables worth examining. Steel grade, alloy makeup, and intended end-use all have an effect on how and why heat treating is undertaken. What follows here is an overview of some of those different processes, how a material’s makeup affects heat treating decisions, and how application affects the process. 

It’s a purposefully and necessarily surface-level overview of what are extremely complex physical and chemical processes, but it should help to initiate non-experts into some of the key issues and concepts concerning heat treating. It should be considered a supplement, and not a stand-in, for the professional advice of a heat treating expert on the particular circumstances which will determine the direction of your heat treating project.

In this guide, we discuss:

  • Common heat treating steps
  • Why steel is heat treated
  • Heat treating and material applications

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