How COLDfire's Thermal Cycling Process works

The COLDfire Thermal Cycling Process is capable of dramatically improving the performance characteristics of a wide variety of materials, such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals and alloys, carbides, plastics (including nylon and teflon) and ceramics. The entire process takes between 12 and 24 hours, depending on the application and the results being sought.

COLDfire's state-of-the-art thermal cycling systems use a computer that duplicates the optimal thermal cycling curve. It precisely regulates the temperature change and brings an absolute of consistency not available in any other tempering process. The method, called thermal cycling, subjects materials placed in a specially constructed chamber to temperatures below -200 C (-330 F) to -75 C (- 100F) and to as high as +225 C (440 F).

Untreated materials


Treated with COLDfire

The process supplements standard heat / quench tempering, completing metallurgical changes that heat-treating begins. Under careful computer control, temperatures inside the Thermal Cycling Chamber are reduced according to a precise programmed profile. Strict computer control and proper processing profiles for each specialised application and component make up assure that optimum results will be achieved with no dimensional change or microstructural damage. Although the parts are cycled through low temperatures, they are not loaded during the cycle and so will not break or crack.

The Thermal Cycling Process is not a surface treatment; it affects the entire mass of the component being treated, making it stronger throughout and dramatically reducing wear. This means the process keeps working for the life of the component, rather than ceasing to be effective after the surface is worn or otherwise damaged. The hardness of the material treated is unaffected so there is no additional tendency to crack or chip, while its strength and durability is actually increased.

The ultra-cold temperatures, below -200 C (-330 F) will increase strength and wear life of all types of vehicle components, machine components, cutting tools, medical equipment and electronic devices to name a few. In addition, other benefits include reduced maintenance, repairs and replacement of tools and components. The results of Thermal Cycling transformation create improved mechanical properties throughout the entire part as opposed to the limited effect of a surface treatment. The mechanisms underlying the greatly improved mechanical properties wrought by Thermal Cycling vary depending on the material being treated, however they include: Precipitation hardening, a process commonly used in aerospace components.

The mechanisms underlying the greatly improved mechanical properties wrought by Thermal Cycling vary depending on the material being treated, however they include:

  • Precipitation hardening, a process commonly used in aerospace components.
  • Extension of metallurgical phase transformations (eg the ferrous Austenite to Martensite transformation)
  • Dislocation modification
  • Grain refinement

Because in Thermal Cycling treatment these mechanisms are operating cyclically and in temperature ranges previously not visited, Thermal Cycling is continuing to provide new applications for optimising the performance properties of materials.

Again, depending on the material, the COLDfire Thermal Cycling Process has the potential to improve:

  • Toughness
  • Wear resistance and durability
  • Fatigue strength
  • Vibration damping

Through its micro restructuring of the material. Traditional measures of properties, such as hardness, do not typically show a change after Thermal Cycling, but the performance of the desirable properties (such as wear resistance) tell a powerfully different story. By treating tools with the Thermal Cycling Process it has shown scientifically measured increase of durability, or "wear life" of 200% to 300%.

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5 Rapid Street, Riverside Industrial Park, Nelspruit 1200, South Africa
PO Box 2063 Nelspruit, 1200, South Africa
Tel: 013 7524349 - Fax: 013 75 33468 - Tel: 0861 - COLDfire
www.coldfire.co.za - email info@coldfire.co.za
 
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