Cryogenic treatment is an optional part of the heat treating process. It is the deep-freezing of tool steel usually to –250 to –300 degrees F for 2-3 hours. The purpose of the cryogenic treatment is to stabilize the microstructure of the tool steel.
Just as retained austenite is transformed to martensite during the tempering process, the same change occurs during the cryogenic treatment. Some grades of tool steel with high alloy content and low tempering temperatures will not completely transform to a martensitic structure during a thermal tempering process.
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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