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Water Quenching Steel

ThermTech is proud to offer water hardening of steel components, forgings, machined parts and tooling. Water quench hardening is typically used for low alloy steel grades that require a very rapid quench rate to achieve desired hardness.

Capabilities for Water Hardening of Steel Components

  • All water quench hardening processes are run out of batch-type furnaces for optimum process and lot control.
  • Our largest furnace capable of performing water quench hardening has internal working dimensions of 70”w x 100” l x 42” h.
  • All ThermTech furnaces are certified to AMS 2750, ensuring optimal temperature uniformity during the hardening process.


Process for Water Quench Hardening Steel
The process of water quench hardening for steel is as follows:

  • It 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 prevent decarburization and the formation of scale as required.
  • The load is then quenched in agitated water to produce a fully hardened martensitic microstructure.
  • After the quench, the parts are tempered down to the specified hardness.

Recommendations from ThermTech to Minimize Distortion
In cases where parts are especially distortion sensitive but still require the superior depth of hardness provided by water quenching, ThermTech will create a custom water quench process to minimize or eliminate distortion issues while still achieving the required material properties. In cases where distortion is a primary concern, please consider our other quench methods which include polymer quench hardening, oil quench hardening, or marquenching.

ThermTech water hardening processes castings made from a wide variety of steel grades. Some of the most common processes we offer are:

  • Water Quenching 4130 Steel
  • Water Quenching 1045 Steel
  • Water Quenching 1035 Steel
  • Water Quenching 1050 Steel
  • Water Quenching 4130 Steel
  • Water Quenching W-1 Tool Steel
  • Water Quenching L-6 Tool 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.