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Steel, heated in contact with air at temperatures in the tempering range, takes on various temper colors due to the formation of a thin oxide film. This article provides detailed information on temper colors for plain carbon steel, especially on the effects of time and temperature.

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Temper Colors for Steels, Heat Treating of Irons and Steels, Vol 4D, ASM Handbook, Edited By Jon L. Dossett, George E. Totten, ASM International, 2014, p 550–551,

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