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A plant had manufactured and heat treated their product in house for years. As time went on, the special steel that they had been using became more expensive, and a switch was made to a more common and less highly alloyed material. However, no change in hardness specifications were made, because calculations of ideal critical diameter and analysis of available hardenability data indicated that the original hardness specification could be met. There was, however, less room for process variation. The parts ended up containing temper carbides, developed heavy decarburization, and experienced excessive distortion because they were left in the furnace for extended and varying periods with the temperature “turned down a couple hundred degrees.”

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D. Aliya, Carbon Steel Heat Treating Problems, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Processing Errors and Defects, ASM International, 2019,

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