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austemper heat treating


Heat Treatment

Austempering is the isothermal transformation of a ferrous alloy at a temperature below that of pearlite formation and above that of martensite formation in order to form a bainite structure. The bainite structure formed in steel during austempering offers several potential advantages:

  • Increased ductility, toughness, and strength at a given hardness
  • Reduced distortion, which lessens subsequent machining time, stock removal, sorting, inspection, and scrap
Austempering usually is substituted for conventional quenching and tempering for the following reasons:
  • To obtain improved mechanical properties (particularly when trying to achieve higher ductility or notch toughness at a given high hardness)
  • To decrease the likelihood of cracking and distortion
  • To improve wear resistance for a given hardness
  • To improve resistance to subsequent embrittlement

Austempering requires only two processing steps: austenitizing and isothermal transformation in an austempering bath without a separate tempering step after the quenching process is complete.

Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI)

When optimal strength, ductility, toughness, wear resistance, design flexibility, good machinability, and a high strength-to-weight ratio are required, ductile iron may be austempered to produce a structure of austenite and ferrite commonly referred to as "aus-ferrite".

The austempered matrix is responsible for a significantly better ratio of tensile strength to ductility than is possible with any other grade of ductile cast iron. The production of these desirable properties requires careful attention to section size and the time-temperature exposure during austenitizing and austempering.

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