Forging Heat Treatment with Polymer Quenching
Polymer quenching provides a hardening heat treatment for steel forgings. Polymer quenching can be utilized with excellent results on plain carbon and alloy steels that require superior depth of hardness and uniform, repeatable mechanical properties. It is particularly useful in forgings that require high impact values in both longitudinal and transverse directions.
Polymer Quenching Capability Variables at ThermTech
- Since polymer quenching is the most critical component of the heat treatment quench and temper process with respect to final mechanical properties, ThermTech has made huge investments in our quench systems.
- All parameters of quenching are controlled, temperature, concentration and agitation.
- ThermTech has two different polymer concentrations to handle a wide range of alloys and section sizes.
- Our maximum quench foot print is 120” x 60” x 48” with weights to 10K lbs.
Process of Polymer Quenching for Alloy Steel Forgings
When properly applied, polymer quenching yields superior results as compared to oil quenching. However all quench variables must be controlled to achieve repeatable results.
- Polymer quenching is particularly useful for quenching high integrity alloy steel forgings that require impact testing.
- Heavy section AISI 4140 forgings that need good depth of hardness can be a challenge when oil quenched.
- Our polymer quenching hardening heat treatment can be the solution for jobs that do not respond properly to oil quenching.
- Atmosphere is an option for polymer quench and tempering if decarburization is of concern.
Polymer Quenching Recommendations from ThermTech
- Polymer quenching is useful for a wide range of steels.
- From AISI 1045 to AISI 4340 the polymer quenching hardening heat treatment can be the solution for complex jobs.
- If quench uniformity is required, such as in complying with the Caterpillar 1E0106A or 1E0106B specification, polymer quenching is an excellent choice.
- Polymer quenching works very well in pre-treatment of components that will be induction hardened where a minimum hardness must be maintained in the transition zone.
Polymer Quench Hardening
ThermTech is proud to offer polymer hardening of steel castings when a quench faster than standard oil quenching is required. Polymer quench hardening is typically employed on castings made from low to medium alloy steel grades and sometimes for higher alloy steels with heavy sections.
Batch-Type Furnace Capability to Ensure Uniformity
- All polymer quench hardening processes are run out of batch-type furnaces for optimum process and lot control.
- Our largest furnace capable of performing the process has internal working dimensions of 88”width x 129”length x 42”height.
- All ThermTech furnaces are certified to AMS 2750, standards, ensuring optimal temperature uniformity during the hardening process.
ThermTech – Industry Leaders in Polymer Hardening Processes
The careful controls we use for our polymer quench processes make us the industry leader in this heat-treat discipline. We are able to polymer quench parts to achieve mechanical and Charpy impact properties other heat-treaters cannot.
- The process of polymer hardening for steel castings begins by fully austenitizing the steel in the temperature range of 1500°F – 1650°F, depending on the steel grade.
- It is held at this temperature for a time commensurate with the part cross-section. This step can be done using a carbon-controlled protective atmosphere to limit decarb and prevent formation of surface oxidation during the austenitizing cycle if required.
- The load is then quenched in ThermTech’s polymer quench tank with vigorous agitation to produce a fully hardened martensitic microstructure in proportion with the steel grade and section thickness.
- After the quench, the parts are tempered down to a specified hardness range to optimize properties for the parts’ specific application.
- The concentration of our polymer quench solution is carefully controlled to ensure uniform quenches from batch to batch, and to maximize quench rates while limiting the risks of quench-cracking.
- Although Polymer quenches are not as severe as water, the properties of polymer solution have enhanced surface wetting properties which results in more uniform heat extraction.
Polymer Hardening Recommendations by ThermTech Professionals
In cases where parts are especially distortion sensitive but still require the superior depth of hardness provided by polymer quenching, ThermTech will tailor the process in order to minimize or eliminate distortion problems while still achieving the required material properties. In cases where distortion is a primary concern, please consider our other quench methods, including oil quench hardening and marquenching.
ThermTech offers polymer hardening processes for castings made from a wide variety of steel grades. Some of the most common polymer quenching processes offered are:
- Polymer Quenching 4140 Steel
- Polymer Quenching 1045 Steel
- Polymer Quenching 4130 Steel
Please be aware that lower final hardness ranges that require tempering temperatures above 900°F may result in temper oxide formation on most steel grades. ThermTech offers a variety of blasting services for machined parts to remove any oxide formation and improve the surface finish. For bright finish requirements, ThermTech is also proud to offer vacuum hardening of castings using either gas or oil quenching hardening.
Polymer Quench Hardening
Polymer quench hardening is an ideal method for hardening machined parts and stampings made from lightly alloyed steels such as 1045, 1144, 1035, or even parts made from some more heavily alloyed steels with difficult mechanical property requirements.
Certified Polymer Quench Hardening Capability
- ThermTech runs all polymer quench hardening out of batch-type furnaces, which are ideal for process and lot control.
- The largest furnace employed in the this process has internal working dimensions of 88”W x 129”L x 42”H.
- Our Largest Polymer Quench tank has dimensions of 74” x 103” x 54”.
- All ThermTech’s furnaces are certified to AMS 2750, ensuring optimal temperature uniformity during the hardening process.
Polymer Quench Hardening Process
- The process of polymer quench hardening for machined parts and stampings is performed by first fully austenitizing the steel in the temperature range of 1500°F – 1650°F (depending on the alloy) in a surface-protecting carbon-controlled atmosphere.
- It is held at this temperature for a time commensurate with the part cross section, and then quenched in polymer to produce a fully hardened martensitic microstructure.
- After quenching, parts are tempered to specification.
- ThermTech has the capability to quench into polymers of a variety of concentrations and levels of agitation in order to maximize mechanical properties while minimizing distortion.
However, in cases wherein severe distortion during polymer quench hardening is process prohibitive, we recommend oil quench hardening, marquench hardening or austempering services.
Recommendations from ThermTech for Polymer Hardening
ThermTech offers polymer hardening processes for machined parts and stampings for many low-alloy steel grades. Below is a list of some of the most common materials we offer this process for:
- Polymer hardening 1045 steel
- Polymer hardening 1050 steel
- Polymer hardening 4140 steel
- Polymer hardening 1035 steel
- Polymer hardening 1145 steel
Please be aware that lower final hardness ranges that require tempering above 900°F will result in temper oxide formation on most steel grades. ThermTech offers a variety of blasting services for machined parts to remove any oxide formation and improve the surface finish. For bright finish requirements, ThermTech is also proud to offer vacuum hardening of machined parts with either gas or oil quenching.
Polymer Quench Hardening
- ThermTech has an atmosphere furnace measuring 36" wide x 36" high x 72" long that has an associated polymer quench located within it.
- This polymer, which quenches faster than oil and is less crack sensitive than water quenching, is ideal for low carbon and alloy materials such as 1045, 5130, 15B45, and 8620 materials.
- The quick quenching speed of this furnace system is ideal for running Investment Castings weighing from 5 lbs or greater.
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