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Quenching is a critical step in the production of hardened steel. This chapter untangles some of the complexities of the quenching process and its effect on the microstructure and properties of various steels. Making extensive use of cooling curves, it sheds light on the transformations that occur at different cooling rates and the extent to which they can be changed by adjusting quench parameters. It discusses the role of quenching in martempering and austempering along with related problems such as cracking and distortion and the challenges posed by low-hardenability steels. It also discusses the use of various quenchants, including oil, polymer, and molten salt, and explains how to measure and compare their performance using a standard (ISO 9950) test.

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