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808
IRON AND STEEL


usually to between 200° and 300° C., so as to relax the molecular rigidity and thereby to allow the arrested transformation to go on a little farther, shifting a little of the B-iron over into the a state. T he higher the tempering-temperature, that to which the hardened steel is thus reheated, the more is the molecular rigidity relaxed, the farther on does the transformation go, and the softer does the steel become; so that, if the reheating reaches a dullred heat, the transformation from austenite into ferrite and cementite completes itself slowly, and when now cooled the steel is as soft and ductile as if it had never been hardened. It is now said to be “ annealed."

30. Chilling cast iron, i.e. hastening its cooling by casting it in a cool mould, favours the formation of cementite rather than of graphite in the freezing of the eutectic at aBc, and also, in case of hyper-eutectic iron, in the passage through region 3. Like the hardening of steel, it hinders the transformation of the austenite, whether primary or eutectic, into pearlite-l-cementite, and thus catches part of the iron in transit in the hard 13 state. The annealing of such iron may occur in either of two degrees-a small one, as in making common chilled cast iron objects, such as railway car-wheels, or a great one, as in making malleable cast iron. In the former ease, the objects are heated only to the neighbourhood of Act, say to 730° C., so that the B-iron may slip into the u. state, and the transformation of the austenite into pearlite and cementite may complete itself. The joint effect of such chilling and such annealing is to make the metal much harder than if slowly cooled, because for each I YQ, of graphite which the chilling suppresses, I5fi'f> of the glass-hard cementite is substituted. Thus a cast iron which, if cooled slowly, would have been “ grey, ” i.e. would have consisted chiefly of graphite with pearlite and ferrite (which are all relatively soft bodies), if thus chilled and annealed consists of cementite and pearlite. But in most such cases, in spite of the annealing, this hardness is accompanied bfy a degree of brittleness too great for most purposes. The process therefore is so managed that only the outer shell of the casting is chilled, and that the interior remains graphitic, i.c. grey cast iron, soft and relatively malleable.

31. In making malleable castings the annealing, i.e. the change towards the stable state of ferrite-l-graphite, is carried much farther by means of a much longer and usually a higher heating than in the manufacture of chilled castings. The castings, initially of white cast iron, are heated for about a week, to a temperature usually above 730° C. and often reaching 900° C. (1346° and 1652° F.). For about 60 hours the heat is held at its highest point, from which it descends extremely slowly. The molecular freedom which this high temperature gives enables the cementite to change gradually into a mixture of graphite and austenite with the result that, after the castings have been cooled and their austenite has in cooling past Aci changed into pearlite and ferrite, the mixture of cementite and pearlite of which they originally consisted has now given place to one of fine or " temper " graphite and ferrite, with more or less pearlite according to the completeness of the transfer of the carbon to the state of graphite. Why, then, is this material malleable, though the common grey cast iron, which is made up of about the same constituents and often in about the same proportion, is brittle? The reason is that the particles of temper graphite which are thus formed within the solid casting in its long annealing are so finely divided that they do not break up the continuity of the mass in a very harmful way; whereas in grey cast iron both the eutectic graphite formed in solidifying, and also the primary graphite which, in case the metal is hyper eutectic, forms in cooling through region 3 of ng. I, surrounded as it is by the still molten mother-metal out of which it is growing, form a nearly continuous skeleton of very large flakes, which do break up in a most harmful way the continuity of the mass of cast iron in which they are embedded.

In carrying out this process the castings are packed in a mass of iron oxide, which at this temperature gradually removes the line or “ temper " graphite by oxidizing that in the outer crust to carbonic oxide, whereon the carbon farther in begins diffusing outwards by “ molecular migration, " to be itself oxidized on reaching the crust. This removal of graphite doubtless further stimulates the formation of graphite, by relieving the mechanical and perhaps the osmotic pressure. Thus, first, for the brittle glass-hard cementite there is gradually substituted the relatively harmless temper graphite; and, second, even this is in part removed by surface oxidation. 32. Fineness of Slruclure.-Each of these ancient processes thus consists essentially in so manipulating the temperature that, out of the several possible constituents, the metal shall actually consist of a special set in special proportions. But in addition there is another very important principle underlying many of our thermal processes, viz. that the state of aggregation of certain of these constituents, and through it the properties of the metal as a whole, are profoundly affected by temperature manipulations. Thus, prior exposure to a temperature materially above Ac, coarsens the structure of most steel, in the sense of giving it when cold a coarse fracture, and enlarging the grains of pearlite, &c., later found in the slowly cooled metal. This coarsening and the brittleness which accompanies it increase with the temperature to which the metal has been exposed. Steel which after a slow cooling from about 722° C. will bend 166° before breaking, will, after slow cooling from about Io5o° C., bend only 18° before breaking. This injury fortunately can be cured either by re healing the steel to Aca when it “ refines, ” i.e. returns spontaneously to its fine-grained ductile state (cooling past Arr, does not have this effect); or by breaking up the coarse grams b ' mechanical distortimz, fag. by forging or rolling. For instance, if steel has been coarsened by heating to 1400° Q., and if, when it has cooled to a lower temperature, say 850° C. we forge it, its grain-size and ductility when cold will be approximately those which it would have had if heated only to 850°. Hence steel which has been heated very highly, whether for welding, or for greatly softening it so that it can be rolled to the desired shape with but little expenditure of power, ought later to be refined, either by reheating it from below Ari to slightly above ACS or by rolling it after it has cooled to a relatively low temperature, i.e. by having a low "finishing temperature." Steelcastings have initially the extremely coarse structure due to cooling without mechanical distortion from their very high temperature of solidification; they are “ annealed, ” i.e. this coarseness and the consequent brittleness are removed, by reheating them much above Acg, which also relieves the internal stresses due to the different rates at which different layers cool, and hence contract, during and after solidification. For steel containing less than about o-13% of carbon, the embrittling temperature is in a different range, near 700° C., and such steel refines at temperatures above 900° C. 33. The Possibilities of Thermal Trevlment.-Wheli we consider the great number of different regions in fig. I, each with its own set of constituents, and remember that by different rates of cooling from different temperatures we can retain in the cold metal these different sets of constituents in widely varying proportions; and when we further reflect that not only the proportion of each constituent present but also its state of aggregation can be controlled by thermal treatment, we' see how vast a field is here opened, how great a variety of different properties can be induced in any individual piece of steel, how enormous the variety of properties thus attainable in the different varieties collectively, especially since for each percentage of carbon an incalculable number of varieties of steel may be made by alloying it with different proportions of such elements as nickel, chromium, &c. As yet there has been only the roughest survey of certain limited areas in this great field, the further exploration of which will enormously increase the usefulness of this wonderful metal.

34. Alloy steels have come into extensive use for important special purposes, and a very great increase of their use is to be expected. The chief ones are nickel steel, manganese steel, chrome steel and chrome-tungsten steel. The general order of merit of a given variety or specimen of iron or steel may be measured by the degree to which it combines strength and hardness with ductility. These two classes of properties tend to exclude each other, for, as a general rule, whatever tends to make iron and steel hard and strong tends to make it correspondingly brittle, and hence liable to break treacherously, especially under shock. Manganese steel and'nickel steel form an important exception to this rule, in being at once very strong and hard and extremely ductile. Nickel steel, which usuaily contains from 3 to 3~5o% of nickel and about o-25% of carbon, combines very great tensile strength and hardness, and a very high limit of elasticity, with great ductility. Its combination of ductility with strength and hardening power has given it very extended use for the armour of war-vessels. For instance, following Krupp's formula, the side and barbette armour of war-vessels is now generally if not universally made of nickel steel containing about 3'25[%, of nickel, o-40 % of carbon, and 1-50% of chromium, deeply carburized on its impact face. Here the merit of nickel steel is not so much that it resists perforation, as that it does not crack even when deeply penetrated by a projectile. The combination of ductility, which lessens'th e tendency to break when over strained or distorted, with a very high limit of elasticity, gives it great value for shafting, the merit of which is measured by its endurance of the repeated stresses to which its rotation exposes it whenever its alignment is not mathematically straight. The alignment of marine shafting, changing with every passing wave, is an extreme example. Such an intermittently applied stress is far more destructive to iron than a. continuous "ne, and even if it is only half that of the limit of elasticity, its indefinite repetition eventually causes rupture. In a direct competitive test the

presence of 3~25 % of nickel increased nearly sixfold the