Influence of Steel Grade on Surface Cooling Rates and Heat Flux during Quenching

  • T. S. Prasanna KumarEmail author


Immersion quenching is one of the most widely used processes for achieving martensitic and bainitic steels. The efficiency and quality of quenching are generally tested using standard quench probes for obtaining the cooling curves. A host of parameters like quenchant type, steel grade, bath agitation, section thickness, etc., affect the cooling curves. Cooling curve analyses covered under ASTM standards cannot be used to assess the performance of a quenchant for different grades of steel, as they use a common material for the probe. This article reports the development of equipment, which, in conjunction with mathematical models, can be used for obtaining cooling curves for a specific steel/quenchant combination. The mathematical models couple nonlinear transient inverse heat transfer with phase transformation, resulting in cooling curves specific to the steel grade-quenchant combination. The austenite decomposition models were based on an approach consistent with both the TTT diagram of the steel and Fe-C equilibrium phase diagrams. The TTT diagrams for the specific chemistry of the specimens and the thermophysical properties of the individual phases as functions of temperature were obtained using JMatPro software. Experiments were conducted in the laboratory for computing surface temperature and heat flux at the mid-section of a 25-mm diameter by 100-mm-long cylindrical specimen of two types of steels in two different quenchants. A low alloy steel (EN19) and a plain carbon steel (C45) were used for bringing out the influence of austenite transformation on surface cooling rates and heat flux. Two types of industrial quenchants (i) a mineral oil, and (ii) an aqueous solution of polymer were used. The results showed that the cooling curves, cooling rate curves, and the surface heat flux depended on the steel grade with the quenchant remaining the same.


carbon/alloy steels heat flux heat treating inverse modeling modeling processes quenching surface cooling curves 



Specific heat (J/kg·K)


Thermal conductivity (W/m·K)


Latent heat (J/kg)


No. of future time steps (-)


Heat flux (W/m2)


Rate of latent heat release (W/m3)


Radial coordinate (m)


No. of thermocouples (-)


Objective function (K2)


Temperature (K)


Time (s)


Fraction austenite transformed (-)


Temperature (K)


Axial coordinate (m)


Capacitance matrix


Force vector


Stiffness matrix


Flux increment fraction (-)


Error of convergence (-)


Density (kg/m3)


Hardness (HRC)


Parameter (-)


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringIIT MadrasChennaiIndia

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