Austenitizing

Heating steel to assume austenitic structure.

Austenitizing treatment consists in heating the steel to a temperature above the A₃ point of Iron-Carbon diagram. This temperature allows the steel to develop an austenitic structure inside it, that can be total (complete austenitizing) or partial with presence of ferrite (partial austenitizing).

Austenitizing represents often the first phase of other heat treatments, because it is necessary to cool the material rapidly to stabilize the austenitic structure: depending on the time required for this, the mechanical features of the material vary along with its crystalline structure, for example giving good hardness and resistance due to Martensite formation, or less hardness but high ductility with Pearlite and Ferrite formation.

Common usages

The Austenitizing process modifies the composition of the crystal grain of steel, by giving it austenitic structure.

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Pros
  • Increased hardness and mechanical resistance or increased ductility.
  • Cons
  • Increased brittleness or decreased resistance.