Precipitation Heat Treatment

Definition - What does Precipitation Heat Treatment mean?

Precipitation heat treatment is the most widely used technique to enhance the yield the strength of pliable materials. It also provides remarkable high-temperature strength to such materials.

The treatment makes use of aging or heating alloys at extremely high temperatures in order to produce a constituent that can undergo precipitation from a solid solution.

Precipitation heat treatment is also known as precipitation hardening.

Corrosionpedia explains Precipitation Heat Treatment

Precipitation heat treatment involves heating alloys up to an appropriate temperature and holding that specific temperature for an adequate time to introduce one or several constituents into the solid solution, and then undergo rapid cooling to have these enclosed within the solution.

It can be described as an artificial aging process where constituents undergo precipitation from the solid component to encourage a substantial improvement in hardness. Materials commonly treated with this type of procedure include:

  • Titanium alloys
  • Aluminum alloys
  • Nickel-based alloys
  • Alloys of beryllium copper
  • Maraging steels
  • Heat-resistant alloys

This process relies on solid solubility changes with temperature in order to construct fine and impure particles which can hinder dislocations or crystal lattice defects. Dislocations can be very common in plasticity, which is a major component in hardening the material. Impurities have a vital role, especially in composite materials that are reinforced by particles. Similar to the way that cold, wet air can create clouds, hail or snow, according to the atmospheric conditions, solid precipitation or precipitation heat treatment can produce particles in varying sizes with different properties.

This form of treatment can be most useful in terms of manufacturing processes like welding, flame cutting or welding and brazing. It can also be used to develop materials that satisfy particular designs and requirements.

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