Whether you’re using nickel alloys for oil refinery piping, sulfuric acid plants, nuclear vessels, computer parts, or something else, there are countless benefits to using this popular alloy for your manufacturing business. First, you should ask yourself what kind of surface treatment or heat treatment you need for your alloy.
- Stressing – Stressing in the material reduces the stress experienced by the final product. By heating the alloy to a low temperature, the material will still retain its original properties. In fact, the Monel 400 nickel alloy can stand up to 2,372 degrees Fahrenheit before its shape or strength is affected.
- Annealing – This is a softening process where your nickel alloys are heated to promote recrystallization — a type of precipitation hardening — and then cooled very slowly. This improves the formability of your metal and can even improve its magnetic properties. If you want a coarser grain to prevent rupture, try buying metals that have undergone solution annealing. This means the metal is heated to a cooler temperature than regular annealing. These processes can alter the physical and chemical properties of the original product in crucial ways.
- Normalizing – This process was designed to refine the grain structure of the end material; by allowing natural cooling from a high temperature, the metal’s ductility is not affected, and it will have better capabilities to handle stress.
- Quenching – is performed when an alloy is heated to a very high temperature and then rapidly cooled. The medium in which this is performed is variable; it can be done in oil, waters with or without salt, or pressurized air. This results in hard but brittle material.
- Tempering – This process isn’t just for honing your broadsword. Tempering gently heats the metal to reduce brittleness and increase the minimum yield strength by altering its structural composition.
While different types of alloys are better suited to different methods of treatments, considering the type of treatment applied to your nickel alloys is important to get the most out of your nickels. Additionally, upkeep methods and regular maintenance are necessary despite finding correctly treated materials. Wash your nickel alloys regularly and watch for oil and grease that may contain corrosive sulfurous materials. If crevices in the metal are present, cleaning those spots regularly is vital to improving the life of your metal.
The uses of nickel alloys are extensive, and finding the right surface treatment is only the first step in conducting your business safely.