What is steel tempering?

Tempering of steels

Tempering is an ancient metallurgical heat treatment technique by this procedure steels are heated below the eutectoid transformation temperature (A1 line) and cooling in the air. Rapid cooling is taking part in the specimen. At 400°F (205°C) epsilon martensite converts into carbide to orthorhombic cementite, low carbon martensite into BCC ferrite, and the retained austenite into lower bainite respectively. At 800°F (427°C) continuous formation of cementite is materialized immaculately. Tempering is necessitated after quenching or hardening to decrease some of the extents of hardness and to undertake better toughness by lessening the hardness of the steel. By tempering the hardness and brittleness of the steel may decrease thereby the ductility is increasing essentially. The main purpose of tempering is to release residual stresses and improving the ductility and toughness of the steel sample. It is worth emphasizing that supersaturated metastable BCT martensite transforms into ferrite and orthorhombic cementite on heating due to providing thermal activation energy outcomes in lessening of brittleness. By heating up, the dispersion and combination of the carbide are elevated simultaneously. Temper brittleness is occurring during tempering for this reason some phases precipitated along the grain boundaries due to slow cooling. These changes in microstructure usually decrease hardness, tensile strength, and yield strength but increase ductility and toughness.

Image source: Internet

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