Steel has been around for ages--even the Romans used it back in 223 B.C.! Ancient people were able to find a way to make steel, as almost 5% of the earth’s crust consists of iron, making it the 2nd most abundant metal in the earth. Steel is made through the addition of carbon into iron (up to 2%) which happens with extremely high heat. One part of steel production that not too many people know about is heat treatment, the way to make metals stronger, harder, and more durable. This is a very important step for many steel and metallic parts.
Heat treatment of steel and other metals can lead to a multitude of desired properties:
- Improved wear resistance
- Increased resistance to deformation and warpage
- Increased strength or toughness
When common metals, such as steels, are heated to high temperatures, there is a significant change at the atomic level. Iron atoms are originally arranged into crystal structures that change shape when heated; of which there are two common structures.
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