Heat Treatment of Cast Irons
This article introduces the general principles and applications of heat treatment to iron castings. It provides a detailed discussion on the heat treatment processes, namely, stress relieving, annealing, normalizing, throughhardening, and surface hardening for various types of cast irons. These include gray iron, ductile iron, compacted graphite iron, white iron, malleable iron, and high-alloy iron. The article describes how to control temperature and atmosphere during the heat treatment of the iron castings.
Gray irons are a group of cast irons that form flake graphite during solidification, in contrast to the spheroidal graphite morphology of ductile irons. The heat treatment of gray irons can considerably alter the matrix microstructure with little or no effect on the size and shape of the graphite achieved during casting. This article provides a detailed account of classes of gray iron, and heat treating methods of gray irons with examples. These methods include stress relieving, annealing, normalizing, transformation hardening, austenitizing, quenching, austempering, martempering, flame hardening, induction hardening, and nitriding.