Austenizing of Tool Steel

Austenizing is the heat treating cycle where the actual transformation of the steel takes place. This is the stage of the process when annealed steel called ferrite is heated to the austenizing temperature, held for a given amount of time and transformed to austenite. During this stage, the elements in the steel are rearranged and dissolved into the matrix of the steel. This rearranging of the elements is what provides for the hardness, wear resistance and strength in the steel.

All grades of steel have a hardening or austenizing temperature range. Some grades harden at temperatures as low as 1500 degrees F while some grades will require hardening temperatures of 2250 degrees F. As the steel reaches this hardening range the transformation begins. The alloying elements begin to arrange themselves within the matrix of the softer iron. A higher austenizing temperature will allow more of the elements to dissolve into the iron matrix, while sacrificing the toughness provided by the iron base. The iron base that all steel in composed of, is the primary element that provides the toughness to the steel. When more elements are dissolved within this iron base, toughness is lost.

For the complete heat treating procedure, including tempering charts, tips and tool steel data sheets, see our "Tool Steel Simplified" book.

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