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Mechanical Engineering


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  1. In steel it changes the face centered cubic steel molecules to body centered cubic grains. In crude terms picture a box with a iron atom at each corner and a carbon atom in the center of each face, face centered cubic. Heat treating causes the molecule to relax and some of the carbon slips inside the box, body centered cubic. When the molecule is quenched read cooled the carbon atom is now trapped inside the box which puts the eight iron atoms around it in much higher tension. As you may or may not know iron has great affinity for itself so is very strong in tension. Carbon has great strength against crushing or compression so holds the now cooler iron atoms away from each other and thus in greater tension. The iron atoms are now prestressed so now a portion of the elasticity is removed and they are less able to be deformed and are thus harder. Take a rubber band if you will and bump it against something when it is loose. See how easily it deforms? Now stretch the band some and bump it against something. See how it is less likely to deform? That is what is happening in heat treating it is stretching the iron atoms in the steel molecule a little and makes it less likely they will deform..aluminum is altogether different and has to deal with grain growth of copper within the aluminum.
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