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Age Hardening

Bluewater’s Age Hardening which is also called Precipitation Hardening is used to increase the tensile and yield strength of materials including most alloys of aluminum, magnesium, titanium, nickel and some stainless steel.  Age Hardening creates changes in physical and mechanical properties by producing fine particles of a precipitate phase, which impede the movement of dislocations, or defects in a crystal’s lattice.  Since dislocations are often the dominant carriers of plasticity, this serves to harden the material.  The precipitates play the same role as particle substances in particle-reinforced composite materials. Just as the formation of ice in air can produce clouds, snow, or hail, depending upon the thermal history of a given portion of the atmosphere, precipitation in solids can produce many different sizes of particles, which have radically different properties. Unlike ordinary tempering, alloys must be kept at elevated temperature for hours to allow precipitation to take place. This time delay is called aging. Solution treatment and aging is sometimes abbreviated “STA” in metals specs and certifications.

Age Hardening Properties

  • Creates high tensile strength and hardness properties
  • Improves wear resistance
  • Reduces ductility/toughness properties
  • Process allows for easy machinability in soft state prior to age hardening
  • Age hardening  is performed at  low temperatures
  • Allows for little to no distortion of the part or component
  • Not all alloys are age hardenable
  • Alloy must be properly solution treat annealed prior to aging

Age Hardening Applications

  • For metal parts and components which call for an increased yield strength
  • Aluminum, magnesium, nickel, titanium and stainless steel parts
  • Gate valves
  • Engine parts
  • Processing equipment
  • Shafts, gears, plungers
  • Valve stems
  • Balls and bushings
  • Turbine blades
  • Moulding dies
  • Nuclear waste casks
  • Fasteners
  • Aircraft parts

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