When you need hardness and strength throughout…
Neutral hardening is a heat treatment process used to increase the hardness and strength of various metals, including steel. This process involves heating the metal to a specific temperature (typically around 1500°F, although 400 series stainless is typically 1800 – 1925°F) and then rapidly cooling it in a quenching medium, such as oil, water, or gas. The objective of neutral hardening is to achieve a uniform and consistent hardness throughout the metals’ entire cross-section. After quenching, the material is at or near its highest hardenability, which also means that it is quite brittle. A secondary process called tempering must be performed, which is heating to a lower temperature, to lower the hardness from this brittle peak and restore some ductility to the steel.
Neutral hardening is one of the more common heat treating processes, so much so, that it has pseudonyms known as: quench and temper, direct hardening, hardening, and oil hardening.
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