Annealing is a type of heat treatment that alters the microstructure of a material causing changes in properties such as strength and hardness and ductility. Bluewater’s processes takes place in stages; 1) softening of the metal through removal of crystal defects and the internal stresses which they cause, 2) nucleation and growth of new strain-free grains. To avoid oxygenation, scaling and decarburization, Bluewater can carry out the annealing process in protective inert atmospheres such as endothermic gas, hydrogen gas, nitrogen gas, argon gas, or vacuum. Components to be annealed are heated in production furnaces and then slow cooled under a controlled environment.
- Reduces hardness, tensile strength and yield strength
- Allows for easier machining and forming of materials
- Removes residual stresses present
- Removes effects of cold-work hardening
- Recrystallization can eliminate directionality of rolled or forged microstructures and create fine equiaxed grains
- Homogenization of grain structure to dissipate alloy segregation present in as-cast structures