A New Process to Bright Age-Harden PH Stainless SteelsSeptember 1, 2011
Thanks to new advanced gas-cooling technology, Solar Atmospheres, Souderton, PA, has developed a unique two-step heattreat process to anneal and bright age-harden a variety of precipitation hardenable (PH) stainless steels in a vacuum furnace without breaking vacuum. PH stainless steels 17-4 and 15-5 must be cooled to below 80 F from the annealing temperature for complete martensitic transformation prior to age hardening. Similarly, PH stainless steels 13-8 Mo and 17-7 and 15-7 Mo Condition TH 1050 must be cooled from the annealing temperature to below 60 F relatively quickly prior to aging. Once PH stainless steel has been exposed to an air environment after annealing, it is notoriously difficult to keep it bright, or to not oxidize to a gold/blue hue during age hardening.
With Solar Atmospheres’ new gas-cooling technology, PH stainless steels can be annealed, cooled to below 60 F and age hardened, all under vacuum conditions in a single heattreat batch, vacuum-furnace process. The result is consistently clean, bright and nondiscolored parts that meet material-property specs.Solar Atmospheres: 215/721-1502; www.solaratm.com
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See also: Solar Atmospheres
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