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This Handbook continues coverage from Volume 4A, Steel Heat Treating Fundamentals and Processes. As with the last edition of this Volume, the goal is to provide a comprehensive reference that can be of use to the diverse heat treating community that includes researchers, engineers, technicians, and students. Each has different needs with regard to their level of work and practice.

This Volume covers the equipment, operational, and technological aspects of steel heat treatment. This includes instrumentation for process control and the various operational parameters that influence the effective and economical production of heat treated steel parts. The first article of this Volume introduces general aspects of process control. This article discusses survey methods to assess furnace temperature uniformity, which is one of the more critical variables in a heat treating operation. Other articles also describe cost estimating and the sources of problems during heat treatment, such as decarburization prior to or during heat treatment and cracking or distortion during quenching.

Updates and new articles also cover modern furnaces, heat-resistant equipment, controls, atmosphere control, temperature measurement, quenchants, quenching systems, and agitation. In addition, this Volume also gives a modern engineering perspective to the important problem of distortion and the control of residual stresses. This key topic is central in preventing many problems during steel heat treating. The engineering science (including computer modeling and simulation) of residual stress and distortion has relevance and increasing promise in practical production, whether it is process improvement for captive heat treaters or more flexible reliable results for the job-shop demands of commercial operations. In this effort, we especially thank Volker Schulze, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and Thomas Lübben, Stiftung Institut für Werkstofftechnik (Foundation Institute of Materials Science), for their editorial efforts on the subject of residual stress and distortion.

As in any ASM Handbook effort, compromises in scope and effort must occur. For example, more coverage on systems for handling and filtering quenchants could have been included. General equipment design and maintenance also could have been covered in more detail. In addition, some topics (such as the Appendix on “Heat Transfer Equations”) may be beyond the scope of typical heat treaters, who can successfully rely on practical “rules of thumb” for determining heating and cooling schedules. Nonetheless, the underlying can provide a foundation in analyzing unexpected circumstances.

Finally, we extend our thanks to the authors and reviewers who have taken the time to make this publication possible. It would have been impossible without them.

Jon L. Dossett
George E. Totten
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