Abstract

A gas quenching method was developed by DANTE Solutions, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (DEVCOM AvMC), to control distortion in difficult to quench geometries. This new method addresses the nonuniform cooling inherent in most gas quenching processes. A prototype unit was constructed and tested with the aim of controlling the martensite formation rate uniformity in the component being quenched. With the ability of the DANTE Controlled Gas Quenching (DCGQ) unit to control the temperature of the quench gas entering the quench chamber, thermal and phase transformation gradients are significantly reduced. This reduction in gradients yields a more uniform phase transformation, resulting in reduced and predictable distortion. Being able to minimize and predict distortion during gas quenching, post heat treatment finishing operations can be reduced or eliminated, and as such, fatigue performance can be improved. This paper will discuss the prototype unit performance. Mechanical testing and metallographic analysis were also performed on Ferrium C64 alloy steel coupons and will be discussed. The results obtained showed that the slower cooling rate provided by the prototype did not alter the microstructure, hardness, strength, ductility, toughness, or residual stress of the alloy.

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