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In the case of steels, heat treatment plays a fundamental role because no other process step can manipulate the microstructure in order to fulfill such a wide variety of possible in-service conditions. This article addresses heat treatment with regard to hardening and subsequent tempering of steel components in order to optimize tribological properties. It focuses on the heat treatment of tempering and bearing steels and on volume changes that take place due to phase transformations. Plastic deformations that occur due to shrinking and phase transformation are also discussed. The article also describes the generation of thermal, transformation, and hardening residual stresses.

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