Solution Annealing Heat Treatment at ThermTech

Heat treatment stands as an invaluable method for optimizing the mechanical and microstructural properties of metals. At the forefront of this practice is solution annealing—a heat treatment process that ThermTech has mastered for both stainless steel and aluminum products.

Technical Benefits of Solution Annealing:

  • Homogenization of Alloying Elements: Through solution annealing, alloying elements dissolve into a solid solution, fostering a homogenous microstructure which ultimately bolsters material performance.
  • Reduction in Residual Stresses: Any internal stresses potentially incurred during previous operations are relieved, thereby enhancing the durability and longevity of components.
  • Enhanced Machinability: The softening of metals post-process makes them easier to machine or form, simultaneously conserving the condition of machining tools.
  • Preparation for Age Hardening: For metals like 17-4 stainless steel & certain Inconels, solution annealing acts as a precursor to age hardening to deliver specific mechanical properties.
  • Improved Corrosion Resistance: Especially relevant for 300 series stainless steels, this process boosts corrosion resistance by dissolving carbides in the microstructural matrix.
  • Grain Refinement & Optimized Ductility: The outcome is a material with improved toughness, strength, and flexibility.

ThermTech’s Capacities and Specifications:

  • Solution Annealing Heat Treatment Capabilities: ThermTech can adeptly perform solution annealing of stainless steel products in varying conditions: open fire, atmosphere, or vacuum. The choice depends on both the material in question and the requisite surface finish.
  • Equipment Specifications:
  • Open Fire Capacity: 72” x 36” x 144”
  • Vacuum Capacity: 72” x 36” x 36”
  • Atmosphere Capacity: 96” x 60” x 48”
  • All furnaces comply with AMS 2750 class 5 for temperature uniformity & pyrometry.

Process Overview:

Solution annealing predominantly targets stainless steels and high-nickel alloys. These metals often find use in heat-resistant and anti-corrosion applications. The process typically mandates elevated temperatures and is followed by rapid quenching to prevent carbide reformation during cooling. While it doesn’t significantly alter the mechanical properties of austenitic stainless steels, it serves other metals by modifying their properties.

Recommendations for Stainless Steel:

Selecting the right atmosphere is pivotal. If oxidation isn’t permissible, the vacuum process is your best bet.

    Aluminum Solution Annealing at ThermTech:

    Capabilities: ThermTech boasts multiple solution annealing furnaces, all compliant with AMS 2750E class 3 temperature prerequisites of +/-10F. Their equipment can handle work up to 72” horizontally and 74” vertically.

    Process: The procedure is typically conducted between 915F and 990F. The duration hinges on the material and its thickness, ranging from 20 minutes to multiple hours. Post-treatment, a rapid cooling results, potentially leading to some distortion, hence straightening post-solution annealing might be a requisite.

    Recommendations for Aluminum: To enable age hardening for aluminum alloys, solution anneal heat treating is imperative. Given the distortion risks due to high temperatures and rapid cooling, ThermTech leverages years of expertise in crafting fixtures and racking solutions to diminish distortion risks. Moreover, their extensive straightening capacities ensure all post-anneal straightness standards are met.

    Harnessing its vast experience and cutting-edge facilities, ThermTech stands as a frontrunner in solution annealing, ensuring optimized performance, durability, and utility for all treated components.

    ThermTech—Experts in Austempering Stampings, Machined Parts, and Investment Castings

    ThermTech, Inc. offers both small and large batch capabilities for austempering steel and iron investment castings. Between our neutral salt bath furnaces and our larger austempering furnaces, we have the capabilities to austemper a wide variety of stamping, machined components, and investment castings. We have run austempering on alloys from 1060 through 4340 to ductile iron machined parts.

    Our dedicated team works with you to ensure we meet your specifications. Count on our decades of experience with hardening, tempering, surface heat treatments, vacuum treatments, and annealing. To learn more about our services, please contact us today.

    Learn more about austempering and how ThermTech can serve you by watching these videos.

    Request a free quote online or call us at 800-752-6917. You can also contact us online for all your austempering and heat treating needs.

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    ThermTech’s quality policy is ZERO DEFECTS for all customer products and in all quality management system activities. Through our efforts to continually improve the quality of the work we offer, we’ve been recognized as being able to meet the rigorous quality standards required by several of our major customers. ThermTech is certified for ISO 9001 and AS9100 in both Metal Heat Treat and Metal Finishing.