Induction Heat Treatment

Definition - What does Induction Heat Treatment mean?

An induction heat treatment is a process that is used to alter the mechanical properties of some materials. To do this, the induction heat treatment process heats a material to a specific temperature range through the use of electricity. Induction heat treatment is preferred over some other methods of heat treatment because it is an electrical process that allows for precise control of the heating.

Corrosionpedia explains Induction Heat Treatment

Induction heat treatment is more complex than flame heat treatment and some other heat treatment processes. This is primarily due to the larger amount of equipment required. In order to perform an induction heat treatment process, induction coils and electrical control units must be purchased. During the process, the material is placed inside the coils. Alternating current is then run through the induction coils. The shifting magnetic fields caused by the alternating current being ran through the induction coils cause the temperature to rise in the material. Induction heat treatment works especially well on ferrous (magnetic) materials for this reason. The rise in temperature will first occur on the surface of the material and gradually move throughout the entire thickness. Electrical control units help prevent excessive or inadequate material temperatures.

Induction heat treatment is frequently used to harden to the exterior of a material because the surface of the material is the first to become heated during the induction heat treatment process. This, and the fact that it is easily controlled, makes induction heat treatment an excellent process for surface hardening. Precise depths of surface hardened material can be achieved. Once the surface of the material is heated to the desired range, it is then rapidly quenched so that hard, brittle microstructures form upon cooling.

Induction heat treatment can be used for more than just surface hardening. It is also used for tempering. Tempering through the use of induction involves heating a material with alternating current and copper coils, but rather than rapidly cooling a material, it is allowed to cool slowly. This is performed to give a material higher ductility and toughness.

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