Cryogenic Stress Relieving for Metal Parts
Machining and other manufacturing processes can introduce high amounts of stress in metal materials. At the molecular level, these strenuous events cause microscopic gaps where some molecules are displaced and out of phase with one another. Ultimately, these thermal and physical stresses can reduce the strength and toughness of metal parts and components, making them more susceptible to cracking and other forms of mechanical failure.
To combat this, Arrow Cryogenics offers cryogenic metal stress relieving services. Cryogenic stress relief increases the density of metal materials, making them stronger and more solid. This can yield dramatic improvements in the performance, durability, and wear resistance of metal parts and components. Cryogenic stress relief is an effective way of improving wear characteristics and stress resistance in metal parts and tooling.
How Does Cryogenic Metal Stress Relieving Work?
To begin our cryogenic metal stress relieving process, parts are placed in a specially constructed tank. Then, liquid nitrogen is used to lower the temperature inside the tank to -300°F (-184°C) for a set length of time until the necessary target temperature is reached. The required cooling period is determined by the type of metal being treated and the thickness of the material. Parts are then slowly returned to room temperature.
Cryogenic metal stress relieving supplements standard heat/quench tempering, and completes the metallurgical changes begun by heat treating. In addition to removing residual stresses in treated materials, cryogenic stress relief also improves wear resistance and corrosion resistance. Treated parts will also have lower distortion tendencies, and will, in most cases, become significantly stronger and tougher.
Parts treated via cryogenic metal stress relieving may be re-machined or re-ground indefinitely without altering the effects of the cryogenic stress relief process.
Advantages of Cryogenic Metal Stress Relief
- Alters the molecular grain microstructure of the entire metal part, not just the surface layer
- Reduces residual stresses and stress cracking
- Improves toughness, dimensional stability, and wear properties of metal parts
- Gives parts greater stability at room temperature
- Reduces coefficient of friction and surface roughness
- Enables the machining of parts to tighter tolerances
- Increases dimensional stability on critical components
- Reduces stress fracturing
- Increases abrasion and impact resistance
- Improves metal materials’ dielectric properties
- Provides for easier machining and redressing
- Increases component durability and lifespan
- Extended part life for lower replacement costs and reduced downtime