When steel is exposed to oxygen at an elevated temperature, it is subject to decarburization. Oxygen combines with the carbon molecules and bakes or burns them out of the steel. This loss of carbon prevents the steel from reaching full hardness.
Temperature and time are factors affecting the rate of decarburization. The higher that the temperature is the faster the decarburization will occur. A tool steel austenizing at 2000 degrees F will decarburize much faster than a tool steel austenizing at 1600 degrees F. Steel grades that harden below 1600 degrees F, generally don’t require protection from oxygen. Steel grades that harden near 2000 degrees F will decarburize within a few minutes, if exposed to oxygen.
There are three primary methods used to protect steel from exposure to oxygen. The three methods include gaseous atmosphere, vacuum or neutral atmosphere and stainless foil wrap.
For the complete heat treating procedure, including tempering charts, tips and tool steel data sheets, see our "Tool Steel Simplified" book.
You can find all of the answers to your tool steel questions in our comprehensive book "Tool Steel Simplified". This concise book includes tool steel properties, alloying elements, uses, careers, data sheets, heat treating and so much more. It is written is an easy-to-understand format for designers, engineers, buyers, students, production planners and anyone that is interested in learning more about tool steel.
You have questions and you want answers. The answers to your tool steel questions are found in “Tool Steel Simplified”.
You will receive 226 pages of valuable tool steel information providing you with the resources necessary to produce high-quality tooling for your application.
Click here to get your copy of Tool Steel Simplified.