Examining the Process of Quenching and Tempering Titanium Carbide Steel Plates

In order to make steel stronger and more durable, a technique known as quenching and tempering is used by Titus Steel. This treatment strengthens and hardens the steel by heating it to very high temperatures, rapidly cooling it, and then slowly reheating it again.

The hardness of steel depends on its chemistry and heating it above a certain point will alter its molecular structure. Rapid quenching at various speeds will create a desired grain structure while tempering, or slowly reheating the steel, will reduce its brittleness and make it more pliable.

The process or formula of quenching and tempering steel, including titanium carbide plates, is different for every grade of steel.

The Purpose of Quenching

The quenching of steel is performed to achieve a desired grain structure. The first step of the quenching process is to heat the steel to a very high temperature (over 1,6000 F) causing the formation of austenite – a solid solution of carbon and other constituents in a particular form of iron known as γ (gamma) iron. Depending on time, temperature, and the cooling or quenching process, the grain structure of the steel will change. A slow cooling process retains more austenite, making a softer and more ductile steel. A rapid cooling or quenching transforms the austenite into more martensite – a metastable interstitial solid solution of carbon in iron – resulting in more strength and hardness, as well as more brittleness.

There are a few different methods used for cooling or quenching hot steel, with the two most common ones employing water and oil.

  1. Water quenching has to be done at a uniform temperature and evenly applied. This can result in a non-homogeneous microstructure, which is somewhat more brittle and more prone to tearing and shearing.
  2. Oil quenching on the other hand, is more expensive. It provides a slower cooling rate, resulting in less distortion, reduced cracking, and a homogeneous microstructure, which reduces tearing and gouging.

The Tempering Process

After steel goes through the quenching process, it is reheated for a set period of time at a temperature between 4000 F and 1,1050 F. This reduces some of the steel’s hardness but increases its ductility.

ENDURA and ENDURA with Titanium Carbide Plates

Titus Steel’s ENDURA and ENDURA Dual with titanium carbide are oil quenched steels that also work-harden, which means that when the steel is impacted, the harder it gets. More impact causes the hardness to increase from approximately 430 BHN to 560 BHN. At 430 BHN, steel is easier to process than conventional AR 500 steels. However, when the steel is work hardened to 550-560 BHN with impact, it is less easy to process but becomes much harder than typical AR 500 steels. Hit it once and it gets harder, hit it again, it gets even harder.

With Oil Quenching, the steel’s microstructure becomes more homogeneous and in conjunction with its chemistry, results in a condition known as “Transformation Induced by Plasticity,” which means that it’s much less likely to be cracked, sheared, or gouged compared to conventional AR 500 steels.

This is what makes ENDURA and ENDURA with titanium carbides ideal for grizzly decks, grizzly screens, truck boxes, ore pockets, and other high wear applications.

Creusabro Dual is the Right Choice for Sliding Wear Conditions

Titus Steel’s Creusabro Dual is an innovative and advanced abrasive-resistant steel with a very high titanium content (0.6%). It’s oil quenching heat treatment allows for reduced residual stress within the microstructure and therefore outperform traditional water quenched steels, CCO or hard facing overlay plates, in the most severe sliding wear conditions.

Extra hard primary titanium carbides synthesized inside the steel matrix allow for phenomenal extra wear resistance and severe abrasion resistance, making Creusabro Dual the superior choice for your toughest jobs.

Contact Titus Steel today for more information about our titanium carbide plates.