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Most quenched steels are tempered because the toughness of as-quenched steels is generally very poor. The tempering operation sacrifices strength for improvements in ductility and toughness. This chapter discusses the tempering process, the challenge of tempered martensite embrittlement, and the effect of wt% carbon on toughness. It also explains how alloying elements improve the hardenability and tempering response of plain carbon steels.

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Tempering, Steel Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist, By John D. Verhoeven, ASM International, 2007, p 99–106,

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