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Precipitation (Age) Hardening

The formation of a uniformly dispersed precipitate in an alloy is the objective of the precipitation-hardening process.

The fine precipitates in the alloy impede dislocation movement by forcing the dislocations to either cut through the precipitated particles or go around them.  This enhances the strength and hardness of some metal alloys. 

Precipitation (Age) Hardening in a steam atmosphere

When precipitation-hardening is conducted in a steam atmosphere-

A bluish magnetite surface may be formed such as the one shown at the left, which affords a lower coefficient of friction and added corrosion resistance.

Precipitation (Age) Hardening in plain air atmosphere

When precipitation-hardening is conducted in a plain air atmosphere-

A cosmetic bluish surface appearance may be formed such as the one shown at the left.  Age hardening processing is applied in a wide variety of applications, including:

  • Aerospace: landing gear, flap and slat track, torque tubes, pneumatic cylinders, braces, struts, fuse pins, gimbals, and other structural elements.
  • Automotive: suspension coil springs, engine valve springs, torsion bars and instrumented wheel sensors.
  • Medical: endoscopic instruments, scrapers, cutters, and suture needles.
  • Oil field: drive shafts, mud motors, and other downhole drilling tools.
  • Sporting goods: golf club faceplates, wire face shields for field sports, and big-bore firearms cylinders.
  • High-performance racing: speed boat propellers.