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HISTORY OF INTENSIVE QUENCHING G.E. Totten1, N.I. Kobasko2, M.A. Aronov2, J. Powell2 and B. Ashraf1 1. G.E.

Totten & Associates, Inc., Stony Point, NY 2. IQ Technologies Inc., Akron, OH

ABSTRACT Various intensive quenching processes have been reported since the 1920s. In this paper a historical overview of these processes are described. Based on the limited information that has been published, it is likely that many of these systems employed neither intensive quench processing nor did they produce maximum surface compressive stresses. A brief description of a computer simulation process, IntensiQuench(SM), which has been successfully used in intensive quench process design is provided. INTRODUCTION Every metallurgist has been trained that increasing cooling rates, especially in the martensitic transformation region, leads to increasing potential for cracking as shown in Figure 1 [1]. However, since the 1920s, there have been various, often little-known industrial heat treating processes which have been designated as intense, intensive, rapid, drastic, severe, or extreme quenching or shell-hardening methods [2-7,15]. The essence of these methods is to harden less hardenable steels using very fast cooling rates in order to impart high compressive stresses and improved fatigue properties to the quenched component [15]. Therefore, in view of the classical training received by metallurgists, why are these processes not accompanied by quench cracking? In fact, what is intensive quenching? Would you recognize it if you saw it? Figure 1 Quench cracking of 60SC7 steel quenched in water. Decreasing cooling rates were achieved by increasing water temperature. In 1964, Kobasko published the first of an extensive series of papers in which he used the term Intensive Quenching and showed experimental data which provided numerical evidence that showed that although it is true that increasing cooling rates result in increasing

propensity for cracking as historically recognized, there does exist a critical cooling rate above which cracking propensity decreases as shown in Figure 2 [8]. Computer simulations were later used to validate and to develop design

criteria for optimal conditions for conducting intensive quenching processes [9, 10]. Subsequently, various industrial intensive quenching processes were developed and patented by Kobasko [11, 12]. Figure 2 - Effect of Cooling Rate on the Probability of Cracking In this paper, a brief and selected overview of a number of historical intensive quenching applications will be provided. Following this discussion, the previous question will be addressed: what is intensive quenching and how do you know it when you see it? Finally, the question of intensive quenching process design will be briefly addressed. DISCUSSION A. Historical Examples In USP 1,828,325, it was recognized that the depth of hardening could be controlled

by spray pressure of cold water impinging on rail steel and by the speed of the steel moving through the spray zone [3]. No spray pressures and quantitative measures quench severity were
Crack Formation Probability, %

uniformity. One patent, USP 3,515,601, reported that there was a critical cooling rate but did report what it was. Morio discussed the necessity of hardening of carbon or boron-containing carbon steels by cold-water rapid-quenching process to achieve the optimal as-quenched properties (high tensile strength and good weldability) which are superior to oil hardening [14]. However, it was recognized rapid quenching leads to cracking and increased distortion, although some control is afforded through heat treat process and component shape design. Another method of minimizing cracking and distortion reported by Morio was to quench the part using sufficiently high agitation rates to eliminate film boiling on the surface which would provide a more uniform quench. The critical cooling rate for this process (drastic quenching) was the cooling rate which is necessary to eliminate film boiling. The agitation rate/quench severity correlation used to calculate the critical cooling rate was taken from the traditional Grossmann Quench Severity data shown in Table 1 [14]. According to Morio, the practical limit for water quenching was 1.5-2.0, unless high-pressure sprays were employed. This approach is complicated by the absence of a definition of mild, moderate, good, etc. for agitation rate. Furthermore, it is impossible to tell by observation of surface roll etc. since agitation in quench tanks is notoriously nonuniform!






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provided. However, this seems to be one of the earliest published references suggesting the development of intensive quenching . Kern reported that the first known example of intense quenching was in the production of the Ford Model T AISI 1035 rear axle [2] using a hot solution of 5% aqueous caustic soda. However, Kern also reported that the Ladish Company used an intense quenching process using vigorously agitated quench oil to produce Rolls Royce P-51 engine crankshafts. The problem with this application, when compared to the Model T application, is at least two-fold. The first is that oil is recognized to exhibit substantially less quench severity than cold water in a high pressure spray. The second is that there is no quantitative criterion either of quench severity or to the precise meaning of vigorous agitation. Finally, what is the process definition of term intense quenching as referred to by Kern [2]. In a series of patents published from 1967 to 1971 [5-7], somewhat more quantification was provided for the production of various machinery parts. Pressurized tanks (accumulators) were used to deliver very high volumes, approximately 3000 gal/min, of quenchant to selected surface areas of the part being press quenched. Such agitation was designated as extreme or drastic. The purpose that was stated for performing such high-volume delivery processes was to achieve maximum hardness

Table 1 Gross Quench Severity (in-1) for Various Quench Media as a Function of Agitation Agitation None Mild Moderate Good Strong Violent Oil 0.25-0.30 0.30-0.35 0.35-0.40 0.40-0.50 0.50-0.80 0.8-1.1 Water 0.9-1.1 1.0-1.1 1.2-1.3 1.4-1.5 1.6-2.0 4.0 Brine 2.0 2.0-2.2


Mei has taken the approach reported by Morio even further by stating that an agitation rate sufficient to provide a Grossman Quench Severity value of > 6.0 is required to provide an intensive quenching process [13]. However, in

addition to the limitations of the use of Grossman H-values, the approach reported by Mei is based on trial and error experimentation. B. What is Intensive Quenching These historical references indicate that intensive quenching is conducted with very high (extreme or violent) agitation rates with a Grossmann H-value of >6.0. Agitation is a focus of these papers and unfortunately alloys and cross-section sizes are not addressed quantitatively with the exception of Meis and Morios papers [13, 14]. While this information is helpful to envision an intensive quenching process, it is insufficient to properly design a quenching process for optimal results for a particular application. . Perhaps the simplest and correct working definition of intensive quenching is those conditions that lead to maximum surface compressive stresses. However, to properly design a system, it is important to consider together those conditions that affect the formation of maximum surface compressive stresses including: alloy, part shape, crosssection size, quenching cooling rate and final machining/grinding. By Kobaskos definition of intensive quenching, it is quite likely that, depending on the materials, cross-section sizes and actual cooling rates achieved at the hot metal interface during quenching, many of those processes described above may either NOT be intensively quenched or they may not have possessed maximum surface compressive stresses. C. Intensive Quenching System Design Recently, a process simulation procedure has been developed and patented that enables the part designer to obtain higher performance from a given material and while at the same time providing lower part distortion [16]. It is the "other side" of Figure 2- sufficiently high cooling rate to achieve desired physical properties and low distortion, the region of maximum surface compressive stresses. Intensive water quenching systems designed by IntensiQuench(SM) employ very fast cooling and high performance physical properties are no longer as dependent on steel hardenability. The design process integrates material selection; part design and heat treat process selection. (A

discussion of intensive quenching and process design is available in a paper titled Theory of Intensive Quenching which is available at (www.IntensiveQuench.com). An illustration of a computer simulation of an intensive cooling process is provided In addition to computer simulation, it is necessary to validate the proposed process conditions using appropriate trials based on accumulated knowledge and the simulated results. The computer model provides the parameters to insure a robust part processing methodology: based on material properties (stress-strain conditions); alloying element effects; the mapping of part geometry; the needed minimum cooling rate for proper formation of the surface martensite shell; the method of making the shell uniform, and the parameters for the quenching equipment to form that shell repeatedly and reproducibly; minimization of distortion and elimination of internal and external cracks; and the proper window for interruption of the intensive phase of the quench (when compressive surface stresses are at their maximum value and at their optimum depth). When all these parameters are synchronized, IntensiQuench(SM) provides a unique microstructure of "packaged" or "packed" martensite, with very high dislocation densities, a "super-strengthened" layer of compressive stress, and the low part distortion, all from lower alloy steel. Another driver for the adoption of intensive water quenching is the elimination of oil quenching and the various associated hazards. Since IntensiQuench(SM) uses water and not oil, it offers the manufacturer the flexibility to place the heat treating operation in line with the machining and grinding operations on the production floor, within the manufacturing/machining cell. No longer must parts be batch carburized in long cycles and oil quenched to provide surface compressive stresses, and a properly toughened core. Plug quenching can be eliminated since IntensiQuench(SM) builds the "die" on the outside of the part during the intensive part of the quench cycle

by Figure 3. This figure shows the uniform thermal gradients obtained with intensive quenching.

CONCLUSIONS In this paper, selected historical overviews of various published intensive quenching processes have been reviewed. With the exception of Kobaskos ongoing work, there have been no other comprehensive and quantitative works on this process. In fact, when considering Kobaskos definition of intensive quenching those processes that yield maximum surface compressive stresses that many of those earlier processes may either have been not intensive or they may not have yielded maximum surface compressive stresses. Current, a computer simulation process, IntensiQuench(SM), has been developed to aid in the design of intensive quench systems that yield optimum results. It is likely that as intensive quenching becomes better understood with the use of appropriately design systems, that many oil quenching processes, such as carburization, will be replaced. REFERENCES G. Beck, Mem. Etud. Sci. Rev. Metall., 1985, June, p. 269-282. 2. R.F. Kern, Heat Treating, 1986, September, p. 19-23. 3. H. Kurz, USP 1,828,325, October 20,1931. 4. R.H. Hays, J.E. Sansom and K.D. Gladden, USP 3,506,501, April 14, 1970. 5. B. Paddock, USP 3,517,676, June 30, 1970. 6. R.H. Hays, J.E. Sansom and K.D. Gladden, USP 3,589,697, June 29, 1971. 7. J.E. Sansom, USP 3,515,601, June 2, 1970. 8. N.I. Kobasko, Metallovedenie and Termicheskaya Obrabotka Metallov, 1964, No. 2, p. 53-54. 9. N.I. Kobasko, Chapter 10.4 - Intensive Steel Quenching Methods, in Theory and Technology of Quenching, Eds. B. Liscic, H.M. Tensi and W. Luty, 1992, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany, p. 367-389. 10. B.L. Ferguson, N.I. Kobasko, M.A. Aronov, and J. Powell, in 19th Heat Treating Society Conference Proceedings, Eds. S. Midea and G. Pfaffmann, ASM International, Materials Park, OH, 1999 p. 355-362. 1.

11. N.I. Kobasko, Steel Quenching in Liquid Media Under Pressure, 1980, Naukova Dumka, Kiev, Ukraine. 12. V.A. Lisovoy, N.I. Kobasko, M.V. Kindrachuk, and A.A. Khalatov, USSR Patent 4,176,788, 1987. 13. Mei Daming, Intensive Quenching method for Preventing Quench Cracking, Proceedings of the 7th International Congress of Heat Treatment and Technology of Surface Coating, 1990, Vol. 2, p. 62-71. 14. A. Morio, Water Hardening, Kinzoku Zairyou, 1977,Vol. 17., No. 3, p. 45-53. 15. R.B. Liss, C.G. Massieon and A.S. McKloskey, The Development of Heat Treat Stresses and Their Effect on Fatique Strength of Hardened Steels, SAE Technical Paper Series, Paper Number 650517, 1965. 16. N.I. Kobasko, Quenching Apparatus and Method for Hardening Steel Parts, USP 6,364,974, April 2, 2002.