An Integrated Time-Temperature Approach for Predicting Mechanical Properties of Quenched and Tempered Steels

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this work was to develop a steel tempering model that is useful to the commercial heat treater. Most of the tempering models reported address isothermal conditions which are not typical of most heating methods used to perform the tempering heat treatment. In this work, a non-isothermal tempering model was developed based on the tempering response of four steel alloys. This tempering model employs the quantity resulting from the numerical integration of the time-temperature profiles of both the heating and cooling portions of the tempering cycle. The model provided a very good agreement between experimental and predicted hardness when secondary hardening did not occur.

The developed tempering model was then used as the basis for a process simulation model of a large indirect gas-fired furnace. Unlike the small-scale laboratory experiments performed in the development stage of this work, the temperature variation in this furnace was significant. Recording the temperature with time at 29 locations within the furnace allowed for suitable characterization of the temperature variation. The thermal data was used as inputs in a finite element method model and the time – temperature profiles of three production heavy truck side rails were then simulated. The tempering model provided a good prediction of the tempered hardness compared to experimental measurements.

Finally, conclusions are drawn and suggestions are made for future work.

Non-Isothermal Tempering, Quenched and Tempered Steel, Tempered Hardness of Steel, Simulation of Heat Treatment