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Processes and Furnace Equipment for

Heat Treating of Tool Steels


Bruce A. Becherer, Teledyne Vasco
T HE HE AT T RE AT ME NT of t ool
s t eel s is as i mpor t a nt t o t hei r s uc c e s s as
t he s el ect i on of t he gr a de i t sel f . Ma c hi ne
t ool s or pr oduc t i on di es ma de f r om t ool
s t eel s s houl d ne ve r have t hei r r i gi d met al -
l ur gi cal r e qui r e me nt s c o mp r o mi s e d or out -
wei ghed by c os t cons i der at i ons At t e mp t -
i ng t o r e duc e pr oduc t i on c os t s by
b y p a s s i n g s t e ps in t he heat t r e a t pr oc e s s -
i ng of t ool s t eel s wi l l yi el d an end pr oduc t
t hat f ai l s t o me e t t ool l i fe e xpe c t a t i ons and
does not j us t i f y i t s hi gh i ni t i al e xpe ns e .
The s e met al l ur gi cal r e qui r e me nt s i nvol ve
t he c ont r ol o f t he s ur f ace c ondi t i on and
c he mi s t r y, a c c u r a t e c ont r ol of t he t e mpe r -
at ur es of t en up t o 1315 C (2400 F), t he
t i me at a gi ven t e mp e r a t u r e , and t he con-
t r ol of t he heat i ng and cool i ng r at es . Spe-
ci al at t ent i on mus t be pai d t o t he s e re-
qui r e me nt s in t he des i gn, c ons t r uc t i on,
and ope r a t i on of t he f ur naces us ed t o heat
t r e a t t ool s t eel s , e s pe c i a l l y t hos e us e d f or
har deni ng, whe r e t he met al l ur gi cal f act or s
i nvol ve d b e c o me al l - i mpor t ant .
Tool st eel s ar e t ypi cal l y heat t r eat ed in
cer ami c- l i ned sal t bat h f ur naces , in vacuum
f ur naces , in cont r ol l ed a t mos phe r e f ur nac-
es, and in f l ui di zed- bed furnaces
Salt Bath Furnaces
Mol t en sal t s of var i ous compos i t i ons ar e
wel l adapt ed t o all oper at i ons in t he heat
t r eat ment of t ool st eel s. Fo r t ool s t hat can-
not be gr ound af t er har deni ng or f or t ool s
t hat r equi r e an excel l ent sur f ace condi t i on
and t he mai nt enance of shar p edges, sal t
bat h heat i ng pr ovi des excel l ent r esul t s. Ta-
bl e 1 l i st s var i ous sal t bat h compos i t i ons
and pr oces s i ng t emper at ur es f or t he heat
t r eat i ng of t ool st eel s. The sal t bat h met hod
of har deni ng is pr edomi nant wi t h high-
speed st eel t ool s. Wi t h cor r ect oper at i ng
condi t i ons , t ool s can be heat t r eat ed wi t h-
out car bur i zat i on, decar bur i zat i on, and
scaling The sur f ace will be ful l y har d wi t h a
mi ni mum of di st or t i on. Thr ee t ypes of sal t
bat hs ar e gener al l y used:
Pr eheat i ng bat hs
Hi gh- t emper at ur e bat hs
Quenchi ng bat hs
Pr eheat i ng ser ves t o mi ni mi ze t her mal
shock, equal i ze t emper at ur e, and mi ni mi ze
t he amount of t i me r equi r ed at t he high-
t emper at ur e stage The hi gh- t emper at ur e
sal t bat h ser ves as t he aust eni t i zi ng st ep.
The f unct i on of t he quenchi ng bat h is t o
equal i ze t he t emper at ur e as wel l as to en-
sur e a cl ean sur f ace af t er heat t r eat ment .
Mos t t ool s heat t r eat ed in sal t bat hs ar e
ful l y har d f r om sur f ace t o cor e r egar dl ess of
t he sect i on t hi ckness Becaus e sal t bat hs
pr ovi de t emper at ur e uni f or mi t y in pr eheat -
ing, in hi gh- t emper at ur e heat i ng, and in
quenchi ng, di s t or t i on and r esi dual st r ess ar e
mi ni mi zed.
Tool s t hat ar e heat t r eat ed in mol t en salt
bat hs ar e heat ed by conduct i on wi t h t he mol-
t en sal t pr ovi di ng a r eady sour ce of heat as
requi red. Al t hough st eel s come in cont act
with heat t hr ough t he t ool surfaces, t he cor e
of a t ool ri ses in t emper at ur e at appr oxi mat e-
ly t he same r at e as its surface. Heat is qui ckl y
dr awn t o t he cor e from t he surface Sal t bat hs
pr ovi de heat at a rat e equal t o t he heat ab-
sorpt i on r at e of t he t ot al t ool . Convect i on or
radi at i on heat i ng met hods ar e unabl e t o main-
tain t he rat e of heat i ng necessar y t o reach
equi l i bri um wi t h t he rat e of heat absorpt i on.
The abi l i t y of a mol t en sal t bat h t o suppl y
heat at a r api d r at e enhances t he uni formi t y of
pr oper t i es and r esul t ant high qual i t y of t ool s
heat t r eat ed in sal t baths Heat - t r eat i ng t i mes
ar e al so shor t ened; for exampl e, a 25 mm (1
in.) di am bar can be heat ed t o t emper at ur e
equi l i bri um in 4 min in a sal t bat h, while 20 to
30 min woul d be requi red t o obt ai n t he same
pr oper t i es in convect i on or radi at i on furnac-
es.
Sal t bat hs ar e an ef f i ci ent met hod of heat
t r eat i ng t ool st eel s; about 93 t o 97% of t he
el ect r i c powe r c ons ume d in a sal t bat h
oper at i on goes di r ect l y i nt o heat i ng. Tool
st eel s t hat ar e heat t r eat ed in mol t en sal t s
t ypi cal l y ar e pr oc e s s e d in cer ami c- l i ned fur-
naces wi t h s ubmer ged or i mmer s ed el ec-
t r odes cont ai ni ng chl or i de- bas e sal t s.
Table 1 Typical compositions and recommended worki ng temperature ranges of salt mixtures used in heat treating tool steels
Composition, % Melting point Working range
Sa l t mi x t u r e No. BaCI2 Na CI KCI Ca CI z Na NO 3 KNO 3 *C *F "12 *F
Aus t e nl t i z i ng s al t s ( hi gh he a t )
1 9 8- 1 0 0 -
2 80 - 9 0 1 0 - 2 0
Pr e he a t sal t s
3 70 30
4 55 20
Qu e n c h a n d t e mp e r s al t s
5 30 20
6 . . . . . .
25
5 0 -
- 5 5 - 80 20--45
950 1742 1035- 1300 1895- 2370
870 1598 9 3 0 - 1 3 0 0 1705- 2370
335 635 7 0 0 - 1 0 3 5 1290- 1895
550 1022 5 9 0 - 9 2 5 1095- 1700
450 842 500--.675 930-1250
250 482 285-575 545-1065
ASM Handbook, Volume 4: Heat Treating
ASM Handbook Committee, p 726-733
DOI: 10.1361/asmhba0001198
Copyright 1991 ASM International
All rights reserved.
www.asminternational.org
Salt bath furnace used for neutral beating
Fig 1 appl i cat i ons. Fur nace f eat ur es a cer ami c p o t
and over-the-top (immersed) electrodes.
Processes and Furnace Equipment f or Heat Treati ng of Tool Steels / 7 2 7
t
I
ickwork
I mmersed-El ectrode Salt Bath Furnaces
Cer ami c- l i ned f ur naces wi t h i mme r s e d
( over - t he- si de) e l e c t r ode s have gr eat l y ex-
t ended t he usef ul r ange and c a pa c i t y of
mol t en sal t equi pment when c ompa r e d wi t h
ext er nal l y heat ed pot f ur naces ( see Fi g 1).
Det ai l ed i nf or mat i on is avai l abl e in t he ar t i -
cl e "Sa l t Bat h Eq u i p me n t " in t hi s Vol ume.
Submerged-Electrode Salt Bath
Furnaces
Submer ged- el ect r ode f ur naces have t he
el ect r odes pl aced beneat h t he wor ki ng
dept h f or bot t om heat i ng. Fi gur e 2 i s a
c ut a wa y showi ng t ypi c a l cons t r uct i on of a
s ubmer ged- el ect r ode f ur nace. Det ai l ed in-
f or mat i on is avai l abl e in t he ar t i cl e "Sa l t
Bat h Equi pme nt " in t hi s Vol ume.
Aut omat i c Heat Treati ng of Tool Steels
Fi gur e 3 i l l ust r at es t hr ee di f f er ent heat
t r eat i ng ar r angement s f or t he pr oduct i on
heat t r eat ment of t ool st eel s. Tabl e 2 gi ves
r el at i ve pr oces s t i mes and t e mpe r a t ur e s f or
heat t r eat i ng, and Tabl e 3 gi ves pr oc e s s
t i mes f or t wi st dri l l s. The s ys t ems ar e
equi pped f or cycl es r angi ng f r om l ess t han 1
mi n t o 10 mi n. The par t s ar e s us pended on
t ong- t ype f i xt ur es and ar e car r i ed t hr ough
t he pr oces s by a chai n c onve yor on c a r d e r
bar s. To f aci l i t at e r api d t r ans f er of t he t ool
st eel s, r ot ar y t r ans f er ar ms ar e pl aced be-
t we e n t he pr e he a t and t he hi gh heat uni t s
and bet ween t he hi gh heat and t he quench
uni t s. Tr ans f er - ar m pl a c e me nt i s chi ef l y
gove r ne d by t he pr oduc t i on r at e; howe ve r ,
t r ans f er ar ms ar e al ways r equi r ed be t we e n
t he hi gh heat and t he quench uni t s t o sat i sf y
met al l ur gi cal condi t i ons . The l i nes al so
have ar eas a bove t he f ur naces t o a c c ommo-
dat e ai r cool i ng of t he t ool s. In speci al
cas es , l i nes wi l l be made wi t h a st at i on f or
F i g 2 Typical submerged-electrode salt bath furnace
an i sot her mal ni t r at e quench af t er t he neu-
t r al sal t quench. Thi s addi t i onal st age al -
l ows r api d r educt i on of t he t emper at ur e of
t he t ool s and r educes t he ai r cool i ng t i me
f r om 24 t i mes t o 6 t i mes t he t i me at t he hi gh-
heat t emper at ur e. Caution: I f as little as 600
ppm of nitrate salts are allowed to enter the
high heat furnace, extreme surface damage
can be done to the tool being heat treated.
Rect i f i cat i on of Salt Baths
Neut r al sal t s used f or aust eni t i zi ng st eel
become cont ami nat ed wi t h sol ubl e oxi des
and di s s ol ved met al s dur i ng use, r esul t i ng
f r om a r eact i on bet ween t he oxi de l ayer s
pr es ent on f i xt ur es and wor kpi eces and t he
chl or i de sal t s. Becaus e t he bui l dup of re-
sul t i ng oxi des and di s s ol ved met al s r ender s
t he bat h oxi di zi ng and decar bur i zi ng t owar d
st eel , t he bat h must be r ect i f i ed per i odi cal -
l y.
Bat hs of sal t s such as sal t mi xt ur es No. 1
and 2 in Tabl e 1 can be r ect i f i ed wi t h si l i ca,
met hyl chl or i de, or a mmoni um chl or i de.
The hi gher t he t e mpe r a t ur e of oper at i on,
t he mor e f r equent t he need f or r ect i f i cat i on.
Bat hs in whi ch t he e l e c t r ode s pr ot r ude
a bove t he s ur f ace r equi r e dai l y r ect i f i cat i on
wi t h ei t her f er r os i l i con or si l i con car bi de.
Bat hs ope r a t e d a bove 1080 C (1975 F)
r equi r e r ect i f i cat i on a mi ni mum of at l east
once a da y, wi t h mor e f r equent r ect i f i cat i on
cer t ai nl y r e c omme nde d. Dur i ng r ect i f i ca-
t i on of a bat h, t he si l i ca combi nes wi t h the
di s s ol ved met al l i c oxi des t o f or m si l i cat es.
Al t hough t hes e si l i cat es set t l e out as a vi s-
cous sl udge t hat can be r e move d, suf f i ci ent
sol ubl e si l i cat es can r emai n t o caus e t he
bat h t o be c ome decar bur i zi ng. If t he bat h is
not r ect i f i ed, it be c ome s mor e vi s cous t han
wat er . An y sl udge or sal t s obt ai ned as a
by- pr oduc t of t he heat t r e a t me nt mus t be
di s pos e d of in a c c or da nc e wi t h f eder al ,
st at e, and l ocal r egul at i ons .
Met hyl chl or i de bubbl e d t hr ough t he bat h
or t he s ubmer gi ng of a mmoni um chl or i de
Table 2 Relative process times and temperatures for automated heat treating of tool
steels
Operating temperature Total time in
Process stage *C *F furnace(a)
First preheat 650-870 1200-1600 X
Second preheat 760-1040 1400-1900 X
High heat 1010-1290 1850-2350 X
Isothermal quench 540-705 1000-1300 X
Air cool Room temperature Room temperature 6X, 12X, 24X
Wash, hot water 80-95 180-200 6X
Rinse, hot water 80-95 180-20~) X
(a) See Table 3 for drill sizes and times in the high heat indicated by an "X" in this table.
7 2 8 / H e a t T r e a t i n g o f T o o l St e e l s
I I L I
X = cycle ti me
2X X X
Preheat furnace High heat Quench
furnace furnace
H
Unload Load ,~ =
a r e a a r e a ~ =
4X 4X
Ai r cool
(a)
j j I 1 i Ai r cool conveyor 24X
~= ~ X = cycle ti me
X X 2X
- ' ~ I I 1 \ f l / l l l h ~ d l l l l ~ ' ]
Quench High heat
furnace furnace
, T U
= i { ~ 1
_LL
6X
Preheat Load Unload Rinse Wash
furnace area a r e a
(b)
_ ;1 -"el . .
! - = ! ;
[ ] L J
X 4X 4X
Fi rst wash Second Rinse Load and
wash unload
Ti med air cool ( ax, 12X or 24X)
iiiiiiii
X = cycle time
Y = f i r st quench ti me
Z = second quench time .,
Preheat High heat Quench Second
furnace furnace furnace quench
(c)
N X 3 / /
/ / % ,
A
Process desi gns f or aut omat ed salt bath f ur naces f or heat t r eat i ng hi gh- speed t ool steels. I nst al l at i ons
Fi g 3
can be cust om desi gned t o meet speci f i c cust omer request s. (a) Does not i ncl ude wash and ri nse. (b)
Si mi l ar t o (a), but i ncl udes wash and ri nse oper at i on necessi t at i ng r el ocat i on of l oad and unl oad oper at i ons. (c)
Si mi l ar t o (b), but i ncl udes second quench and a var i at i on i n wash cycl es speci f i ed by cust omer
Tabl e 3 T i me cycl es f o r heat t r e a t i n g t wi s t dr i l l s
Di ame t e r
mm i n. Ti me
2. 54--4. 78 0. 100- 0. 188
4. 80- 8. 08 0. 189--0. 318
8. 10- 12. 90 0. 319- 0. 508
12. 93- 18. 24 0. 509- 0. 718
18. 26- 23. 32 0. 719- 0. 918
23. 34- 38. 10 0. 919- 1. 500
102 mm (4 i n. ) d i a m c u p s
64 mm (21/- i n. ) d i e m e nd mi l l s
76 mm (3 i n. ) d i e m e n d mi l l s
Pieces in high heat on smal l er di ameters
2. 54 mm (0. 100 i n. ) = 160 p i e c e s / t o n g = 480 p i e c e s i n ba t h = 1.2 k g (2. 6 lb)
4. 78 mm (0. 188 i n. ) = 85 p i e c e s / t o n g = 255 p i e c e s i n ba t h = 3. 5 k g (7. 65 lb)
6. 50 mm ( 0. 256 i n. ) = 63 p i e c e s / t o n g = 188, p i e c e s i n ba t h = 5. 6 k g (12. 3 Ib)
8. 08 mm (0. 318 i n. ) = 25 p i e c e s / t o n g = 75 p i e c e s i n ba t h = 3. 9 k g (8. 6 lb)
12.90 mm (0. 508 i n. ) ~ 16 p i e c e s / t o n g = 48 p i e c e s i n ba t h = 8. 3 k g (18. 2 Ib)
I mi n 30 s
I mi n 40 s
1 mi n 50 s
2 mi n 0 s
2 mi n 20 s
2 mi n 40 s
6 mi n
7 r ai n
10 r ai n
pel l et s in a per f or at ed cage in t he bat h are
mor e ef f ect i ve met hods of rect i fyi ng sal t
bat hs. The ammoni um chl or i de pel l et s r eact
wi t h t he oxi des t o r egener at e t he ori gi nal
neut r al sal t wi t hout sl udge f or mat i on or
bat h t hi ckeni ng. To r emove di ssol ved met -
als f r om hi gh- t emper at ur e bat hs, gr aphi t e
r ods ar e i nt r oduced at oper at i ng t emper a-
t ure. The gr aphi t e r educes any met al l i c ox-
i des t o met al s t hat adher e t o t he rod. The
met al can be s cr aped of f and t he rod r eused.
To cont r ol t he decar bur i zi ng t endency of
hi gh- t emper at ur e bat hs, t est speci mens fre-
quent l y shoul d be har dened by quenchi ng in
oil or br i ne. A fi l e-soft sur f ace i ndi cat es a
need f or mor e r ect i f i cat i on. Thi s t est may
be s uppl ement ed by anal ys i s of t he bat h.
Hi gh- heat bat hs cont ai ni ng in excess of
0. 5% BaO ar e l i kel y t o be decar bur i zi ng to
st eel .
The f ol l owi ng met hod can be used t o
r ect i f y aust eni t i zi ng bat hs such as sal t mix-
t ur es No. 2 and 3 of Tabl e 1:
Add 57 g (2 oz) of bor i c aci d for each 45 kg
(100 Ib) of sal t , af t er e ve r y 4 h of oper a-
t i on
Ins er t a 75 mm (3 in. ) gr aphi t e rod i nt o t he
bat h f or i h f or ever y 4 h of oper at i on
C o n t r o l l e d A t m o s p h e r e F u r n a c e s
In sel ect i ng an a t mos phe r e t hat will pr o-
t ect t he sur f ace of t ool st eel agai nst t he
addi t i on or t he depl et i on of car bon duri ng
heat t r eat ment , it is des i r abl e t o choose one
t hat r equi r es no adj us t ment of composi t i on
to sui t var i ous st eel s. An ammoni a- bas ed
a t mos phe r e ( Amer i can Gas As s oci at i on, or
AGA, cl ass 601) meet s t hi s r equi r ement and
has t he advant age of bei ng suffi ci ent l y re-
duci ng t o pr event oxi dat i on of hi gh-chromi -
um st eel s. In t he range of dew poi nt s gen-
er al l y f ound in t hi s gas, - 4 0 t o - 5 0 C ( - 4 0
t o - 60 F), t her e is no ser i ous depl et i on of
car bon, be c a us e t he decar bur i zi ng act i on is
sl ow and any l oss of car bon at t he sur f ace is
par t i al l y r epl aced by di f f usi on from t he in-
t er i or . Fo r appl i cat i ons in whi ch high super -
ficial har dnes s is i mpor t ant , a car bur i zed
sur f ace can be obt ai ned by t he addi t i on of
about 1% met hane (CH4) t o t he at mo-
spher e. Al t hough ammoni a- bas ed at mo-
spher e cos t s mor e t han an endot her mi c gas
at mos pher e, t hi s s el dom becomes i mpor-
t ant becaus e t ool t r eat i ng f ur naces gener al l y
ar e c ompa r a t i ve l y smal l and t her ef or e re-
qui re a cor r es pondi ngl y smal l quant i t y of
gas.
Endot he r mi c - ba s e d at mos pher es ar e of-
t en used f or t he pr ot ect i on of t ool st eel
duri ng heat t r eat ment . Suggest ed r anges of
dew poi nt f or an AGA cl ass 302 endot her -
mi c a t mos phe r e when us ed f or har deni ng
some c ommon t ool st eel s ar e l i st ed in Tabl e
4. Rel at i vel y shor t heat i ng t i mes f or har d-
eni ng smal l t ool s al l ow t r eat ment t o be
car r i ed out wi t h t he t heor et i cal car bon bai -
Processes and Furnace Equipment f or Heat Treati ng of Tool Steels / 729
Table 4 Ranges of endothermic-atmosphere dew point for
hardening tool steels
Data compi l ed f or short ti mes at t emperat ure; furnace dew poi nt ; AGA class 302
atmosphere
Fu r n a c e t e mpe r a t ur e ( a ) De w poi nt r a n g e
St e e l *C *F C *F
W2, W3 800 1475 7 to
SI 925 1700 4 to
$2 870 1600 4 to
Ol 800 1475 7 to
0 2 775 1425 7 to
0 7 855 1575 - 4 to
D2, I34 995 1825 - 7 t o
D3, D6 955 1750 - 7 to
HI I , HI2, HI3 1010 1850 2 to
T1 1290 2350 - 18 to
M 1 1205 2200 - 15 to
F2, F3 830 1525 - 5 to
(a) Approximate midrange of austenitizing temperatures for the specific types of tool steels
13 45 to 55
7 40 to 45
16 40 t o 60
12 45 t o 55
12 45 t o 55
2 25 to 36
- 1 20 t o 30
- 1 20 to 30
7 35 to 45
- 1 2 0 t o 10
- 1 2 5 to 10
1 23 to 34
ance of t he at mospher e varyi ng over a r at her
wi de range. However , for t he hardeni ng of
large di e sect i ons, t he par t i cul ar composi t i on
of t he di e steel bei ng t r eat ed requi res careful
cont r ol of t he at mospher e i f car bur i zat i on or
decar bur i zat i on is t o be avoi ded duri ng t he
rel at i vel y long heat -t reat i ng cycl e.
V a c u u m F u r n a c e s
One of t he mos t i mpor t ant cons i der at i ons
t hat must be met when heat t r eat i ng t ool
st eel s is t hat t he t r eat ment must be accom-
pl i s hed wi t h mi ni mal change of t he sur f ace
of t he wor kpi ece. Mi ni mi zi ng t he e xpos ur e
t o ai r dur i ng heat t r eat ment by mi ni mi zi ng
or r educi ng t he quant i t y of ai r in a vessel as
wi t h cr eat i ng a par t i al vacuum is an excel -
l ent met hod f or r et ai ni ng wor kpi ece sur f ace
i nt egr i t y. Vacuum f ur naces wi t h pr es s ur es
of 26 Pa t o 1.3 mP (200 t o 0.01 Ixm Hg) ar e
pos s i bl e wi t h t he s ophi s t i cat ed pumpi ng
equi pment i nt egral t o vacuum f ur naces.
Vacuum f ur naces have hi s t or i cal l y been
popul ar wi t h heat - t r eat i ng pr oc e s s e s such
as br azi ng, si nt er i ng, and out gassi ng. Mor e
Direction of
ad
He~
ra
r ecent l y, vacuum f ur naces have become
pr edomi nant for har deni ng of sel ect ed t ool
st eel s. One r eason f or t he wi des pr ead use of
vacuum f ur naces is t he f r eedom f r om envi -
r onment al pr obl ems t hey af f or d t he user. In
cont r as t t o sal t bat h heat t r eat i ng, di sposal
pr obl ems ar e el i mi nat ed wi t h t he use of
vacuum f ur nace heat t r eat i ng. Anot her r ea-
son f or t he wi des pr ead use of vacuum fur-
naces is t hei r f l exi bi l i t y. Vacuum f ur naces
can be desi gned f or oper at i ng t emper at ur es
in exces s of 2760 C (5000 F) and can be
pr ogr ammed t o run an al most l i mi t l ess va-
r i et y of st r ess r el i evi ng, pr eheat i ng, har den-
ing, and quenchi ng cycl es. Desi gn of com-
put er har dwar e and sof t war e will al l ow
t hese st eps t o be pr ogr ammed i ndi vi dual l y
or sequent i al l y t o enhance pr oduct i vi t y.
Hot Wall Furnaces. Unt i l r ecent l y, vacu-
um f ur naces wer e i nhi bi t ed by t echni cal
cons i der at i ons in t hei r use for har deni ng of
t ool st eel s. Two f act or s l i mi t ed t hei r use of
vacuum f ur naces in ear l y hot wal l desi gns.
Fi r s t , t he r et or t in whi ch t he vacuum was
devel oped l ost cons i der abl e st r engt h when
it was heat ed and woul d t end t o col l apse.
Gas diffuser Wa t e r j acketed
~re vessel
earth
ipport
pier
learth
pier
eramic
fiber
)ld gas
culator
Fig 4
Heat exchanger
Schematic of a si ngl e-chamber batch-type pressure-quench vacuum furnace. Source: C.I. Hayes, Inc.
Secondl y, a r et or t was l i mi t ed in t he t ype of
cool i ng or quenchi ng t echni ques whi ch ar e
r equi r ed by t ool st eel s.
Col d Wal l Furnaces. Vacuum f ur naces
now i ncor por at e a heat i ng uni t i nsi de a
vacuum c ha mbe r t hat is of doubl e- wal l con-
st r uct i on. Bet ween t he t wo wal l s, wa t e r or
cool ant i s ci r cul at ed f or ef f ect i ve cool i ng of
t he vacuum c ha mbe r , t her ef or e enabl i ng
hi gh- t emper at ur e oper at i on. Thes e col d
wal l vacuum f ur naces have been desi gned
by var i ous manuf act ur er s and offer count -
l ess var i at i ons in si ze, pumpi ng capaci t y,
heat i ng capaci t i es , quenchi ng met hods ,
s peed, c omput e r i z a t i on, and so on.
In col d wal l f ur naces , t he el ect r i c heat i ng
el ement s ar e l ocat ed i nsi de t he r et or t . The
heat i ng el ement s can be made of a r ef r act o-
r y met al ( mol ybdenum) or f r om gr aphi t e
r ods or cl ot h. The heat i ng el ement s ar e
s ur r ounded by r ef r act or y met al baffl es t o
pr ovi de i nsul at i on and di r ect r adi ant r ef l ec-
t i on. Ce nt e r e d or pos i t i oned wi t hi n t he fur-
nace is a r ef r act or y ( met al ) hear t h on whi ch
a f i xt ur ed or ba s ke t e d wor k l oad can be
pos i t i oned.
Single-Chamber Vacuum Furnaces. A si m-
pl e vacuum f ur nace ( Fi g 4) cons i s t s of one
c ha mbe r in whi ch t he wor kpi ece is bot h
heat ed and cool ed. Cool i ng or quenchi ng is
a c c ompl i s he d by back filling or bl owi ng
i ner t gas acr os s t he wor kpi eces . In or de r t o
quench r api dl y enough t o obt ai n t he des i r ed
mi cr os t r uct ur e of t ool st eel , it is ne c e s s a r y
t o i ncr eas e t he pr e s s ur e of t he quench gas
( usual l y ni t r ogen) . Thi s is accompl i s hed by
hi gh- vel oci t y, hi gh- pr es s ur e bl ower s whi ch
have r e por t e d cool i ng gas pr es s ur es of up t o
60 kPa (6 bar ) .
The cool i ng r at e r equi r ed will var y de-
pendi ng on t he t ype of st eel us ed and t he
si ze and shape of t he wor kpi ece. One must
al so c ons i de r f l ow pat t er ns and f ur nace l oad
when eval uat i ng vacuum heat t r eat ment . A
var i et y of vacuum f ur nace desi gns have
been de ve l ope d t hat pr oduce a wi de r ange
of cool i ng r at es by var yi ng gas pr es s ur es ,
gas vel oci t i es , and gas f l ow pat t er ns . In
s ome cas es , gas quenchi ng ma y not be
a de qua t e t o achi eve t he ne c e s s a r y cool i ng
r at e f or a c ompone nt , and ot he r quenchi ng
met hods ma y need t o be cons i der ed ( t hat i s,
sal t bat h, f l ui di zed bed, or oi l quenchi ng)
( see Tabl e 1).
Multiple-chamber vacuum furnaces or in-
t egr at ed quench f ur naces have been de-
si gned t o i mpr ove t hr oughput or enhance
quench r at e. Vacuum f ur naces t ypi cal l y
have t he r moc oupl e s avai l abl e at sever al lo-
cat i ons in t he f ur nace as wel l as on t he
sur f ace of t he l oad or wi t hi n t he conf i nes of
t he l oad i t sel f.
Mul t i pl e - c ha mbe r f ur naces ( see Fi g 5)
al l ow near l y cont i nuous har deni ng of com-
ponent s . In such s ys t ems t hr ee c ha mbe r s of
modul es exi st :
A pur ge ( l oadi ng chamber )
7 3 0 / H e a t T r e a t i n g o f T o o l St eel s
L . _ F _
Loading chamber Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Pressure quench chamber
N i l Heatingcham~r I I I
Fi g 5 Schematic of a typical in-line multiple-chamber vacuum furnace. Source: C.l. Hayes, Inc.
A mul t i pl e- zone heat i ng c ha mbe r
A quench c ha mbe r
A l oaded t r ay aut omat i cal l y moves i nt o t he
pur ge c ha mbe r wher e de c ompr e s s i on be-
gi ns. Once t he vacuum l evel is si mi l ar t o t he
l evel in t he heat i ng chamber , t he t r ay or
bas ket is moved t hr ough an i nsul at ed door
f or heat i ng. Heat i ng is accompl i s hed by
t r ansf er t hr ough mul t i pl e pr eheat i ng zones
and one fi nal hi gh- heat zone. Meanwhi l e,
anot her t r ay has moved i nt o t he pur ge
chamber . Once t he pr e pr ogr a mme d t i me
i nt er val has el aps ed in t he hi gh- heat zone,
t he bas ket is t r ans f er r ed t o t he fi nal quench
chamber f or i mmer s i on. Ul t i mat el y, t he
bas ket is t r a ns por t e d f r om t he quench
chamber t hr ough a door t o an unl oadi ng
t r ay.
Addi t i onal i nf or mat i on is avai l abl e in t he
ar t i cl e "He a t Tr eat i ng in Vacuum Fur na c e s
and Auxi l i ar y Eq u i p me n t " in t hi s Vol ume.
F u r n a c e K i n e t i c s . The sui t abi l i t y of a vac-
uum f ur nace t o har den a par t i cul ar compo-
nent is gover ned by many f act or s, not t he
l east of whi ch is t he quenchi ng capabi l i t y.
Wi t h gas quenchi ng, t he effect s of gas var -
i abl es such as pr es s ur e, vel oci t y, and f l ow
pat t er ns ar e si gni fi cant .
Fundament al l y, in t he cool i ng of any
st eel , t he pr oces s is l i mi t ed by:
Gas par amet er s whi ch cont r ol t he r at e of
heat f r om t he sur f ace of t he component
( sur f ace t her mal r esi st ance)
Component par amet er s whi ch cont r ol t he
r at e of heat t r ansf er wi t hi n t he compo-
nent from t he cent er t o t he sur f ace ( com-
ponent t her mal r esi st ance effect) of t he
wor kpi ece
In gener al , t he gas par amet er s pr edomi nat e
in det er mi ni ng t he cool i ng rat e in l arge
di amet er component s ( gr eat er t han 250 mm,
or 10 i n. , di amet er ) . Bot h t ype s of par ame-
t er s mus t be t aken i nt o cons i der at i on.
Gas Par ame t e r s . The gas par amet er con-
st i t uent of heat r emoval is des cr i bed by t he
f ol l owi ng equat i on:
Q=hA AT ( Eql )
wher e Q is t he heat r emoval rat e, h is t he
heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent , A is t he sur f ace
ar ea of c ompone nt , and AT is t he t emper a-
t ure di f f er ence bet ween t he component and
t he gas.
Dur i ng t he initial cool i ng per i od, t he gas
t emper at ur e has onl y a mi nor effect on t he
wor kpi ece. Howe ve r , af t er t hi s initial cool -
ing per i od, t he c ompone nt cool i ng r at e be-
comes i ncr easi ngl y sensi t i ve t o changes in
gas t e mpe r a t ur e wi t h t he cool i ng r at e de-
cr easi ng as t he gas t e mpe r a t ur e i ncr eases.
Two i mpor t ant f eat ur es of f ur nace desi gn
t hat af f ect gas t e mpe r a t ur e ar e:
Heat e xc ha nge r t ype, l ocat i on, and si ze,
becaus e t hes e f act or s cont r ol t he bul k gas
t emper at ur e i nt o t he f ur nace
Fl ow di st r i but i on, whi ch cont r ol s t he lo-
cal gas t emper at ur e ar ound t he wor kpi ece
Hi gh gas t e mpe r a t ur e s us ual l y occur onl y
in t he initial cool i ng per i od of a wor kpi ece,
when t he ef f ect of gas t emper at ur e, as di s-
cussed pr evi ous l y, is mi ni mal .
The ef f ect of heat t r ans f er coeffi ci ent on
t he cool i ng r at e of a 25 mm (! in.) di amet er
sl ug is shown in Fi g 6.
I I I I I . 1 9 o , . o o \ . 1 9 o
- - Gas temperature 50 C
- - - - Gas temperature 100 C
1000 1830 1000 1830
800 800 1470 10
? u- ~ ~ V=2.1 m3/s
' ~ X Increasing ~ ' ~ X ~ '
600 heat transfer 1110 ~ "~ 600 1110 ~
~. X coefficient ~. ~. ~ ~.
E E ,~,, E E
' ~ / X ~ 50w/m2"K 750 ' ' 400 V=3"gm3/s ~ \ ~ ~" 750 '
400 \ ~ ~ -
~ - - ~ ~ h = 100 W/m2.K
390
Increasing gas
temperature h = 100 W/m 2 K
o I 1 L I 3 0 o 3o
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Time, min
200 200 390
Time, rain
Plot of temperature versus time showing the effect of gas temperature and F i g 7 Plot of temperature versus time showing the effect of local gas velocity, 1/,
Fi g 6 heat transfer coefficient, h, on the cooling of2S mm (1 in.) diam steel slugs, on the cooling of 25 mm (1 in.) diam steel slugs. Slugs are cooled with 105
Source: Ref 1 kPa (15 psig) N 2 quench gas. Load size is 836.4 kg (1844 Ib). Source: Ref 1
1300
1100
.=
900
g
E
700
500
~
P = 10 kPa --
P = 20 kPa
L f p = 30 kPa
7/ P=40kPa--
2370
2010
1650
E
1290
930
20 60 100 140 180 220
Ti me, s
Pl ot of t emper at ur e versus t i me showi ng t he
F i g 8 effect of ni t r ogen gas pressure, P, on t he
cool i ng of 25 mm (1 in.) di am by 48 mm (17/8 in.) l ong
M2 t ool steel slugs. Source: Ref 1
The heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent , h, f or a
gi ven gas is r el at ed t o l ocal gas vel oci t y, V,
and gas pr es s ur e, P, as f ol l ows:
h = C(VP) m (Eq 2)
wher e m and C ar e cons t ant s whi ch depend
on t he f ur nace t ype, c ompone nt si ze, and
wor kl oad conf i gur at i on.
Equal i ncr eas es in ei t her t he l ocal gas
vel oci t y or t he pr es s ur e have t he s ame
ef f ect on t he heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent and
hence on t he cool i ng r at e of a component .
The ef f ect of i ncr eas ed gas vel oci t y on
cool i ng is shown in Fi g 7. Local gas vel oc-
i t i es wer e i ncr eas ed ar ound t he 25 mm ( l
in. ) di a me t e r c ompone nt s by i ncr easi ng t he
gas f l ow r at e f r om 2.1 m3/s (4400 ft3/min) t o
3.5 m3/s (7500 ft3/min). The effect of in-
Processes and Furnace Equipment for Heat Treating of Tool Steels / 731
cr eas ed gas pr es s ur es on t he cool i ng of
si mi l ar component s is shown in Fi g 8.
Two pr act i cal cons i der at i ons t o be t aken
i nt o account when i ncr easi ng ei t her gas
vel oci t y or pr es s ur e are:
Hi gh- pr es s ur e vacuum f ur naces ar e re-
qui r ed t o be desi gned and bui l t t o st ri n-
gent saf et y r egul at i ons
Incr eas es in bot h gas vel oci t y and pres-
sure af f ect t he desi gn of t he bl ower and
t he power r equi r ed t o r eci r cul at e t he gas-
es (doubl i ng t he gas vel oci t y i ncr eases t he
bl ower powe r by a f act or of ei ght , whi l e
doubl i ng t he gas pr es s ur e onl y i ncr eases
t he bl ower powe r by a f act or of t wo)
The heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent , h, is al so a
f unct i on of t he gas pr oper t i es. The effect of
f our gases on t he cool i ng of 25 mm (1 in. )
di amet er sl ugs is demons t r at ed in Fi g 9.
Ni t r ogen is usual l y t he gas of choi ce be-
cause:
Hydr ogen is expl osi ve and must be used
wi t h ext r eme car e
Hel i um is expens i ve
Ar gon gi ves poor cool i ng r at es
Thus, it is evi dent t hat t he cool i ng r at es of
st eel component s ar e not onl y det er mi ned
by gas par amet er s such as gas t emper at ur e,
gas vel oci t y, and gas pr es s ur e but al so
depend on t he physi cal pr oper t i es (t hat is,
conduct i vi t y, densi t y, and vi scosi t y) of t he
gas itself.
In pr act i ce, it is t he gas vel oci t y and t he
gas pr es s ur e t hat ar e t he mos t si gni f i cant
f act or s in cont r ol l i ng c ompone nt cool i ng
r at es.
Compone nt Par ame t e r s . Compone nt
si ze, shape, and mat er i al pr oper t i es cont r ol
t he r at e of heat t r ans f er wi t hi n c ompone nt s
f r om t he cent er of t he mat er i al cor e t o t he
sur f ace of t he mat er i al . Mat er i al pr ope r t i e s
( t hat i s, densi t y, speci f i c heat , and t her mal
conduct i vi t y) var y onl y mar gi nal l y f r om one
st eel t o anot her and hence have been con-
s i der ed cons t ant s f or t he pur pos e of t hi s
di s cus s i on. Compone nt si ze and s hape can
var y gr eat l y.
The ef f ect of di a me t e r on cool i ng is
shown in Fi g 10. At t he sur f ace of t he
c ompone nt , t he cool i ng r at e is i nver s el y
pr opor t i onal t o t he c ompone nt di amet er ;
t hus, i ncr easi ng t he di a me t e r by a f act or of
t wo de c r e a s e s t he cool i ng r at e by a f act or of
t wo. The t e mpe r a t ur e at t he cent er of t he
c ompone nt l ags behi nd t he t e mpe r a t ur e at
t he sur f ace of t he component . Thi s ef f ect is
mor e cl ear l y shown in Fi g l l , wher e t he
r at i o of sur f ace t e mpe r a t ur e t o c e nt e r t em-
per at ur e of t he c ompone nt is pl ot t ed ove r a
wi de r ange of di amet er s and heat t r ans f er
coef f i ci ent s.
At l ow heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent val ues ,
gas pa r a me t e r s pr e domi na t e ove r t he cool -
i ng r at e and negl i gi bl e di f f er ences exi s t be-
t ween t he t e mpe r a t ur e at t he sur f ace and
t he t e mpe r a t ur e at t he cent er of t he compo-
1200
1000
8O0
?
600
E
400 - -
200
0
0
2190 1200
1830 1000
1470 800
~ 204 .L J
1110 ~ { 600 - - ' - - ~ ' ~ "
~
on ~ ~ ' ~
I
,00 \
j Ni t r ogen
~ 390 200
30
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
~ me , mi n
I I I I
Surface of c omponent
- - Center of c omponent
" ~ D= 50 mm
%
D = 25 mm
0 ] 30
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
33me, rai n
2190
1830
1470
1110
E
750
390
Plot of t emper at ur e versus t i me showi ng t he effect of var yi ng di amet er , D,
F i g 9 coolingPIt of temperatUreof 25 mm (lversUSin.) diamtimetoolShwingsteel slugs.the effeCtsource:Of selectedRef 1 gases on t he F i g 10 on t he cool i ng of t ool steel slugs. Source: Ref 1
7 3 2 / H e a t T r e a t i n g o f T o o l St eel s
Heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent (h), Bt u/ f t 2 h F
0 18 35 53 70 88 106 123 141
1 0
0.9 ~ ~ ~ ~
~ mm
o
150 mm
o
.~ 0.4 ~,
0.3
50 mm
100 mm
250 mm
0.2
0
Fig 11
158
100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900
Heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent (h), W/ m 2 K
Pl ot of surface-to-center t emper at ur e r at i o versus t he heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent t o show t he ef f ect of
var yi ng t ool steel sl ug di amet er s rangi ng f r om 25 t o 250 mm (1 t o 10 i n.). Source: Ref 1
Hi gh heat t r ansf er coeffi ci ent s can cause
l arge var i at i ons in t emper at ur e bet ween
t he cent er and surface of component s
( par t i cul ar l y as t he di amet er i ncr eases)
t hat may r esul t in cr acki ng and/ or di st or -
t i on
Even high heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent s may
not be abl e t o cool t he cent er of l arge
di amet er component s f ast enough t o
har den t hem adequat el y
Fluidized-Bed Furnaces
Fl ui di zed- bed f ur naces offer anot her
met hod of heat t r eat i ng t ool st eel s ( see al so
t he ar t i cl e "Fl ui di z e d- Be d Equi pme nt " in
t hi s Vol ume). Thi s met hod uses a sol i d
r at her t han a liquid or gas for t he heat
t r ansf er medi um. In gener al , t he f ur nace is
c ompos e d of a l ayer of smal l mobi l e par t i -
cl es of an i ner t r ef r act or y (for exampl e,
al umi num oxi de or si l i ca sand) in a cont ai n-
er whi ch is heat ed and fl ui di zed by a fl owi ng
s t r eam of gas. Obj ect s to be heat t r eat ed ar e
i mmer s ed di r ect l y i nt o t he bed of par t i cl es.
A fl ui d bed r esul t s when a gas is pas s ed
upwar d t hr ough a bed of smal l sol i d par t i -
cl es at a r at e f ast enough t o lift t hese par t i -
cl es and t o cr eat e t ur bul ence. Thi s mot i on
of par t i cl es, si mi l ar t o t hat of a fl ui d, is
nent . As t he heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent is
i ncr eas ed, t he c ompone nt pa r a me t e r s begi n
to r est r i ct t he cool i ng r at e of t he component
and l arge di f f er ences begi n t o devel op be-
t ween t he t e mpe r a t ur e at t he sur f ace and
t he t emper at ur e at t he cent er of t he compo-
nent . Thes e t e mpe r a t ur e di f f er ences can
cause di s t or t i on and cr acki ng in l arge di am-
et er c ompone nt s .
It is usual l y t he cool i ng r at e at t he cent er
of t he c ompone nt t hat is of most i nt er est .
The var i at i on in cent er cool i ng r at e in M2
t ool st eel over t he t e mpe r a t ur e range 1200
to 600 C (2190 t o I 110 F), is pl ot t ed for a
range of heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent s in Fi g 12.
Fo r t he l ar ge 250 mm (10 i n. ) di amet er
component , t he cent er cool i ng r at e in-
cr eas es onl y mar gi nal l y wi t h l arge i ncr eas es
in t he heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent when com-
par ed t o i ncr eas es in t he c e nt e r cool i ng r at e
gai ned in a smal l c ompone nt . Fo r such l arge
di amet er c ompone nt s , even f ast oil or sal t
quenchi ng (h is a ppr oxi ma t e l y 1000 t o 5000
W/ m 2- K, or 200 t o 900 Bt u/ f t 2 h F) may
not pr ovi de t he cent er cool i ng r at e r equi r ed
t o devel op t he des i r ed st eel har dnes s pr op-
er t i es.
Two i mpor t ant concl us i ons dr awn f r om
t hi s di s cus s i on of how c ompone nt par ame-
t er s affect cool i ng r at es ar e:
Heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent (h), Bt u/ f t 2 h F
1.8 18 180 1800 1. 8x 104
i i i i i 1080 ~- 5 m dl a ~
"~ 400 720
"~ 200 ~ d i a n ~ l 360 ~
0 0
10 100 103 104 105
Heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent (h), W/ m 2 K
Pl ot of cool i ng rat e at t he cent er of t he sl ug
F i g 1 2 versus t he heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent of M2
t ool steel t o show ef f ect of var yi ng di amet ers over t he
t emper at ur e range of 1200 t o 600 C (2190 t o 1110 F).
Source: Ref 1
Ga s out ]
N"
~ . - : ! ; - . :
Ga s in
(a)
- V
L
3_
Particles a r e
fl ui di zed
i t
' ; " : ' : " : : ' - : " ' : ' i
-:.r....,.z:.-..r,
!"..:.~-' -~).:~
: ; ." :.": "- ": t ;'-; ";-; ".;
-....:o.- . . . . . . . ,
N\\\\\\\\\\\N~
t t
Gas in
Ib)
Ruidized b e d
is expanded a
d i s t a n c e L
Schemat i c showi ng pr i nci pl e of t he f l ui d-
Fi g 13 i zed- bed f ur nace. (a) I ni t i al l y, t he gas f l ows
upwar d t hr ough t he per meabl e base t o agi tate t he
part i cl es as t he pr essur e is gr adual l y i ncr eased. (b)
Event ual l y, t he gas f l o w is suf f i ci ent t o l i f t t he small
part i cl es of r ef r act or y mat eri al s and t o t r ansf or m t he
par t i cl e movement i nt o a v i ol ent t ur bul ent mot i on.
Al t hough t he part i cl es are act ual l y sol i d, t he f l ui di zed
bed si mul at es t he mot i on of a l i qui d, Source: Ref 2
shown in Fi g 13. When gas is f or ced upwar d
t hr ough smal l hol es in a suppor t i ng pl at e,
t wo f or ces meet t o r ai se t he par t i cl es: t he
buoya nc y of t he gas and t he r et ar di ng f or ce
known as a e r odyna mi c dr ag.
Mos t f l ui di zed- bed f ur naces are used at
t emper at ur es bel ow 1095 C (2000 F), al-
t hough some manuf act ur er s have f ur naces
capabl e of t r eat i ng c ompone nt s to t emper a-
t ur es t hr ough 1205 C (2200 F). Thi s t em-
per at ur e / i mi t at i on is r el at ed to t he expo-
sure damage or wear and t ear on t he r et or t
mat er i al s. Fl ui di zed beds have been de-
si gned t o per f or m a wi de var i et y of heat -
t r eat i ng t as ks i ncl udi ng st r ess rel i evi ng, pre-
heat i ng, har deni ng, quenchi ng, anneal i ng,
and t emper i ng as wel l as a var i et y of surface
t r eat ment s such as car bur i zi ng, ni t ri di ng,
and s t eam t emper i ng. Thi s di scussi on will
deal pr i mar i l y wi t h a s pe c t s of neut ral hard-
eni ng of t ool st eel s.
Heat t r ans f er wi t h f l ui di zed- bed f ur naces
is par t i cul ar l y good and of f er s char act er i s-
t i cs appr oachi ng t hat of mol t en sal t bat h
f ur naces . Heat i ng pr ope r t i e s of t he fluid bed
can be adj us t ed t hr ough a wi de range be-
Processes and Furnace Equi pment f or Heat Treat i ng of Tool Steels / 733
l hma
E
a. ~ y
~.__.
"i- o
<-- Static @ Ruidized I
b e d [ bed I
vm, Vo.,
Local gas v el oc i t y , V ,-
Heat t r a n s f e r c o e f f i c i e n t ri ses wi t h t h e i n-
F i g 1 4 cr ease i n v e l o c i t y o f t he f l u i d i z e d bed unt i l a
peak val ue, hm~x, is r eac hed at t he o p t i mu m v e l o c i t y
Vop t. Sour ce: Ref 3
caus e t her e ar e many pa r a me t e r s t hat can
be var i ed. Some of t he maj or var i abl e pa-
r amet er s ar e:
Par t i cl e pr oper t i es ( si ze, shape, bul k den-
si t y, and abs ol ut e densi t y)
Pr oper t i es of t he gas used t o f l ui di ze t he
bed ( densi t y, vi s cos i t y, heat capaci t y,
and t her mal conduct i vi t y)
Sys t em pr oper t i es (fl ow of gas t hr ough t he
bed, t ot al wei ght of t he par t i cl es in a
gi ven bed, cr os s sect i on and shape of t he
r et or t or bed cont ai ner , and t ype of per -
meabl e pl at e us ed t o s uppor t t he par t i -
cl es)
One of t he maj or at t r i but es of t he fl ui d-
i zed bed is t he hi gh r at e at whi ch heat can
be t r ansf er r ed f r om t he bed of par t i cl es t o
an i mmer s ed obj ect . Coef f i ci ent s of heat
t r ansf er on t he or de r of 400 t o 740 W/ m 2. K
(70 t o 130 Bt u/ ft 2 h F) ar e possi bl e. Thi s
heat fl ow r at e is t wo t o t en t i mes hi gher t han
t hat pr ovi ded by nor mal convect i on or ra-
di at i on. In addi t i on, t he r at e of heat t r ans f er
in t he full bed is r el at i vel y i ndependent of
t he emi ssi vi t y of t he obj ect whi ch is i m-
mer s ed and t he t e mpe r a t ur e l evel . The t ur-
bul ence of t he f l ui di zed bed is i mpor t ant in
mi xi ng and can ef f ect i vel y mi ni mi ze t her -
mal gr adi ent s wi t hi n t he bed.
Fi gur e 14 i l l ust r at es t he nat ur e of heat
t r ansf er in a f l ui di zed bed. Unde r cur ve 1,
t he bed is nonf l ui di zed in a st at i c st at e wi t h
l ow heat t r ans f er r at es t hat i ncr eas e onl y
sl i ght l y wi t h vel oci t y. Af t er t he mi ni mum
f l ui di zat i on vel oci t y (Vmf) is r eached, t he
heat t r ansf er coef f i ci ent , h, i ncr eas es r api d-
ly over a c ompa r a t i ve l y nar r ow vel oci t y
r ange ( cur ve 2). At a cer t ai n opt i mum ve-
l oci t y (Vopt), t he heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent
r eaches a maxi mum (hmax) and t hen t ends
t o di mi ni sh as t he f l ui di zed bed at t ai ns mor e
gas- l i ke pr ope r t i e s ( cur ve 3). The act ual
heat t r ansf er r at e exper i enced in t he fl ui d-
i zed bed depends on t he fl ui di zi ng gas ve-
800 y l I f
~" Mo l t e n l ead f
600 J Mo l t e n sal t 7
C o v e c t I ~
400
i on f urnace
, \ . / I i
~. 200 ~ / , / z \ F l u i d i z e d bed
0 I I
1470
1110 o u-
750
E
390
3O
0 200 400 600 800 1000
" l i me, s
Fl ui di z ed- bed heat i ng c ompar ed wi t h c o n -
F i g 15 v e n t i o n a l i mmer s i on ( mol t en sal t and mol -
t en l ead bat hs) and c o n v e c t i o n heat i ng met hods f o r 16
mm (% i n. ) di am st eel bar s. Sour ce: Ref 3
l oci t y and i t s t her mal conduct i vi t y, t he si ze
and dens i t y of t he bed par t i cl es, t hei r t her -
mophys i cal pr oper t i es , and on t he ge ome t r y
and st r uct ur al desi gn f eat ur es of t he fur-
nace. Gener al l y, t he pr i nci pal par amet er ,
ot her t han vel oci t y, t hat affect s t he heat
t r ans f er coef f i ci ent is t he par t i cl e si ze wi t h
t he coef f i ci ent ri si ng as t he par t i cl e di ame-
t er is decr eas ed. Thes e par amet er s r esul t in
heat t r ans f er coef f i ci ent s as high as 570
W/ m z. K (100 Bt u/ ft z. h- F), whi ch is up t o
fi ve t i mes t hat whi ch can be obt ai ned in a
convent i onal open- f i r ed f ur nace and is si m-
i l ar t o t hat obt ai ned in l i qui d bat hs. The
compar i s on of t he heat i ng r at e in a fl ui d-
i zed- bed f ur nace wi t h ot her t ypi cal modes
of heat i ng is shown in Fi g 15.
Fl ui di zed- bed heat - t r eat i ng f ur naces ar e
manuf act ur ed by sever al suppl i er s and ar e
avai l abl e in t hr ee f undament al conf i gur a-
t i ons. Two of t he conf i gur at i ons ar e fl ui d-
i zed by t he pr oduct s of combus t i on and ar e
known as i nt er nal l y fi red and ext er nal l y
fi red t ypes . Fo r t he t hi rd conf i gur at i on,
known as t he i ndi r ect l y heat ed t ype , t he
f l ui di zat i on and t he heat i ng ar e accom-
pl i shed i ndependent of one anot her . The
i ndi r ect l y heat ed t ype is most of t en used f or
neut r al har deni ng and t her ef or e is mor e
appl i cabl e t o t ool st eel heat t r eat i ng.
Becaus e t he heat i ng and f l ui di zat i on
modes of an i ndi r ect l y heat ed f l ui di zed- bed
f ur nace ar e i ndependent of one anot her , t hi s
t ype of f ur nace is used wher e speci al at mo-
spher es ar e r equi r ed by t he pr oduct . Li t er -
al l y, any gas may be used for f l ui di zat i on
and t hi s t ype of f ur nace can a c c ommoda t e a
wi de r ange of pr oces s es such as car bur i z-
ing, car boni t r i di ng, st eam t r eat i ng, and
br i ght anneal i ng. An exampl e of an i ndi r ect -
l y heat ed f l ui di zed- bed f ur nace is shown in
Fi g 16. Al t hough t he f ur nace shown is heat -
ed el ect r i cal l y, i t shoul d be emphas i zed t hat
a f l ui di zed- bed f ur nace may al so be fuel
fi red ( si mpl y by r epl aci ng t he el ect r i c el e-
ment s on t he out si de wi t h a sui t abl e bur ner
md
)late
Schemat i c o f an i n d i r e c t l y heat ed f l u i d i z e d -
Fig 16 bed heat - t r eat i ng f ur nac e. The gas ent er s
t h e t u r n a c e f r o m t h e s uppl y l i ne o n t h e b o t t o m l ef t .
Sour ce: Ref 4
s ys t em) or bot h fuel f i r ed and el ect r i cal l y
heat ed. In speci al conf i gur at i ons , f ur naces
may al so be cool ed t o ope r a t e at subambi -
ent t e mpe r a t ur e condi t i ons .
The f l ui di zed- bed par t i cl es of f er some
si mi l ar i t i es t o sal t bat hs and can pr ovi de a
suppor t i ng neut r al envi r onment . The fluid-
i zed par t i cl es do not col l ect on t he wor k
sur f ace and t her ef or e t her e is no dr agout or
s ubs equent cl eani ng r equi r ed. The al umi -
num oxi de or si l i ca oxi de par t i cl es can
become c ont a mi na t e d but ar e t ypi cal l y not
cons i der ed an envi r onment al hazar d as ar e
l ead and sal t c ompounds us ed in t he ot her
heat t r eat met hods . The wor kpi e c e , upon
r emoval f r om t he hi gh- t emper at ur e bed,
can, howe ve r , be e xpos e d t o s ur f ace con-
t ami nat i on such as de c a r bur i z a t i on dur i ng
t r ans f er t o a quenchi ng medi a. Becaus e
mul t i pl e f l ui di zed- bed f ur naces or a combi -
nat i on of f ur naces ar e t ypi cal l y used in
conj unct i on wi t h each ot he r dur i ng t ool
st eel heat t r e a t me nt , such f act or s must be
cons i der ed in t he over al l l a yout of a heat
t r eat de pa r t me nt .
REFERENCES
1. E.J. Radcl i ffe, Gas Quenching i n Vacu-
um Furnaces: A Revi ew of Fundamen-
tals, Ind. Heat . , Nov 1987, p 34-39
2. J. D. St auf f er and C. O. Pe de r s on, Pri nci -
pl es of t he Fl ui d Bed, Met . Prog. , Apr i l
1961, p 78-82
3. A. Fe nne l l , Cont i nuous He a t Tr eat i ng
wi t h Fl ui di z e d Beds, Ind. Heat . , Sept
1981, p 36-38
4. J. E. J apka, Fl ui di zed- Bed Fu r n a c e Heat
Tr eat i ng Appl i cat i ons f or t he Di e Cast i ng
Indus t r y, Die Cast. Eng. , May- J une
1983, p 22-26