The 3 Most Common Chain Heat Treatment Practices
November 15, 2022
Heat treatment is used to alter the physical properties of a material - typically to increase the strength and wear characteristics of a chain while maintaining adequate toughness and ductility for the application. Heat treatment involves the use of heating, rapid cooling (quenching), and sometimes even chilling components to extreme temperatures to achieve the desired result.
All metals consist of a certain microstructure. The molecules shift positions when heated. When the metals are quenched, the molecules stay in a new microstructure with increased hardness levels and the desired increase in the strength and wear resistance of the components. The components of the chain are heat treated separately prior to assembly, which facilitates setting the target properties for each component to their ideal state. There are many different heat treatment methods that are used to tailor the hardness level and depth. The three most common methods of heat treatment for chain components are:
Hardening is a process of heating, quenching, and tempering the part. This process hardens and strengthens the material evenly throughout the entire section of the part, unlike some methods which just harden the outer layer. The outcome is tempered steel that is harder and stronger but still has adequate ductility and toughness.
Carburizing is the process of hardening steel by exposing it to carbon while the metal is being heated. The addition of carbon to the surface of the steel changes the chemistry and makes it more responsive to heat treatment while maintaining a softer and more ductile core hardness. The carbon is only absorbed in exposed surfaces, and the depth of penetration is proportional to the time in the furnace - hence the term case hardened. Case Hardening does create the potential for harder steel than other hardening methods, but deep cases can take more time and be very expensive.
Similar to Through Hardening in that it requires a process of heating and then quenching, but the application of the heat is done in a controlled fashion through an induction process (strong magnetic fields). Induction Hardening is usually applied as a secondary process on top of thorough hardening. Controlling the induction process limits the depth and pattern of the hardness change. Induction Hardening is used to harden specific sections of a part instead of the entire unit.
While heat treating is an effective, and critical, way to increase the quality of your chain there are many other manufacturing processes such as stamping, bending, and interference fits that are required to make a high-quality and long-lasting chain.
TianYuan Induction Electric (Chengdu) Co., Ltd. hereinafter referred to as TY INDUCTION has been providing industrial induction heating equipment and customer-centric solutions worldwide for more than 15 years. We serve different industrial sectors and can generate multiple synergies. Customers trust TY Induction for superior equipment and service. TY INDUCTION's experienced team of electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, automation engineers, metallurgists, application specialists, and after-sales representatives is ready to work with you.
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