Processing of Post-Forming Heat-Treatable (PFHT) Steel

Alternative higher strength steels can be developed by post-forming heat treatment. Retaining the geometry of components during and subsequent to the heat treatment process is a key barrier for the widespread adoption of HSS.

Processing of PFHT Steels

Fixturing the component followed by heating and instantaneous quenching seems to be a solution for production applications. The stamping is created at a lower strength (ellipse 1), and then increased to a very high strength by heat treatment (ellipse 2) (Figure 1).

The tensile strength-elongation graph of PFHT steels

Figure 1. The tensile strength-elongation graph of PFHT steels

Air- hardening of alloyed tempering steels is another process, yielding better forming properties in the soft- state (deep-drawing properties) and superior strength subsequent to heat treatment or air-hardening. Besides being used as sheet material, air-hardening steels are ideal for tube welding. These tubes are ideally suited for hydroforming applications.

In-die quenching is another option and is a version of Indirect Hot-Forming. In this process, all forming of the component is completed at room temperatures, followed by heating the component to roughly 850-900ºC. The component is then quenched to martensite using a water cooled die. This process is termed as Form Hardening. The current PFHT steel production grades and corresponding automotive applications are given in the following table:

PFHT 340/480 As-received room temperature
PFHT 1050/1500 Heat treated after forming
PFHT 1200/1900 Heat treated after forming

Download the Advanced High-Strength Steels Applications Guidelines free here, to learn more about the metallurgy, forming and joining of these new steels.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by WorldAutoSteel (World Auto Steel).

For more information on this source, please visit WorldAutoSteel (World Auto Steel).

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