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This chapter discusses the processes involved in the heat treatment of steel, namely austenitizing, hardening, quenching, and tempering. It begins with an overview of austenitizing of steels by induction heating, followed by a discussion on the processes involved in transformation of the soft austenite into martensite or lower bainite in the hardening operation. The chapter provides information on various quenching systems and a description of quenching techniques, namely austempering, martempering, and patenting. Difficulties associated with hardening of steel are discussed. Further, the chapter describes the equipment used for and principal variables of tempering. It discusses the causes for various forms of embrittlement due to tempering. Information on multiple tempering, protective-atmosphere tempering, and selective tempering are also provided, along with processes involved in selection of tempering temperature. The chapter ends with a section discussing various effects, advantages, and disadvantages of precipitation hardening.

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Hardening and Tempering of Steel, Practical Heat Treating: Basic Principles, By Jon L. Dossett, ASM International, 2020, p 163–201,

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