What is a Carburizing Furnace?

by | Oct 8, 2015 | Metal Heat Treating Service

Have you ever heard of carbon steel? Do you wonder how it is created? With the help of a carburizing furnace, carbon atoms are merged with steel to create an improved version with many desirable properties. Here is a closer look at the process of carburizing and the furnaces that make it possible.

Freeing Up Carbon Atoms

In order to create a substance like carbon steel, carbon atoms are taken from either carbon monoxide or charcoal. When these materials are heated together, carbon diffuses into the metal. If a low carbon metal is desired, the time will be relatively short. However, when high carbon metals are needed, the carburization process can be extended.

After the steel is heated, it is then rapidly cooled in a process known as quenching. Quenching can be done with oil, but the efficient carburizing furnace can use gas or oil. Gas is a better option because it is eco-friendly and efficient. Once cooling is completed, a much harder version of steel is created. In some cases, carburization is used to replace carbon lost while processing the metal.

Benefits of Carburization

Adding carbon to steel provides a number of benefits to the industry today. For example:

 * Surface hardness is increased.
 * The metal becomes more resistant to wear and tear.
 * Tensile strength increases, producing steel that can withstand a great deal of stress or vibration.
 * Volume may increase as well as grain growth
 * Surface carbon increases

The Role of the Carburizing Furnace

The most efficient carburizing method today employs carburizing furnaces, and there are several types. One of the most innovative methods involves the use of flex ovens. The flex furnace utilizes many different cells to perform various operations. Flex ovens provide business with a great deal of versatility. For example, you have the choice of a special steam process which can be used to heat or quench, and you also have the choice of using gas for carburizing.

With flex furnaces, quenching can be done with cold or hot oil. High-temperature tempering can also be accomplished. By using a variety of treatment cells in one process, one can create a continuous workflow, increasing efficiency and production. It also limits the need for downtime, due to process changes.

Your carburizing furnace can be a single, double, flex, or jumbo unit, and each selection will give you a number of benefits. Your vacuum furnace and parts supplier can provide you with all the information you require.

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