What is Tempering?
Tempering is a technique applied to ferrous alloys, such as steel or cast iron, to increase toughness, ductility, strength, and structural stability. This process involves heating previously hardened or normalized steel to a set temperature below the lower critical point, then cooling it at a suitable rate to relieve the stresses and hardness developed during welding or machining.
Variables that affect the microstructure and mechanical properties of tempered steel include: temperature, time held at temperature, cooling rate, and steel composition. These elements are to be controlled and monitored closely in order to produce the final desired properties of the material. The result is a component with the appropriate combination of hardness, strength, and toughness for the intended application.
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