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Tool Steel and Stainless Steel Heat Treatments

Bluewater performs tool steel and stainless steel heat treatments in vacuum furnaces at several facilities. Many grades of tool steel, high alloy steels and stainless steel have the ability to be heat treated using a high pressure nitrogen gas quench instead of requiring a liquid quench. This allows these materials to be heat treated in a vacuum furnace rather than using an atmosphere furnace with liquid quench tanks.

Vacuum Furnace Heat Treatments for Steel and Stainless Steel

Heating in a vacuum where all gases including oxygen have been removed allows the material to be heated without oxidation, scale formation or other reactions such as carburizing, decarburizing, nitriding, and de-alloying occurring. Tool steels and stainless steels are heat-treated in vacuum and then can be quenched in high pressure inert nitrogen gas if rapid cooling is required. This allows the surface of the material to remain bright and shiny and unreacted.

The slower cooling rates associated with gas quenching instead of liquid quenching also reduces distortion and minimizes size change. Bluewater performs vacuum heat treatments on these grades and can also perform nitrogen or vacuum tempering if discoloration from tempering needs to be avoided. Cryogenic treatment of some tool steels and stainless steels is recommended and can also be performed.

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