Heat Treating - 4: Stress Relieving
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WARNING: Machine tools present a safety hazard. Improper operation can result in severe injury. These topics are for non-laboratory study only and are not to be used in conjunction with the operation of any tool or machine described herein. Never use a machine tool without the supervision of a qualified instructor.

Stress Relieving is also a process for making material softer. However stress relieving does not change the material properties as does annealing and normalizing.  A material can be stress relieved by heating it to a specific temperature that is lower than that of annealing or normalizing and letting it cool to room temperature inside or outside of the oven. This heat treatment is typically used on parts that have been severely stressed during fabrication.

It is worth noting that many heat treatments and welding processes cause stresses in the material that can lead to warpage either after the heat treating process or during subsequent machining operations. Of specific concern is the stress induced by welding. If a weldment is to be machined it should almost always be stress relieved or normalized before the machining process. This is because machining chunks of material from a stressed weldment redistributes the internal stresses and can cause the part to warp. If the stresses are first relaxed then abrupt changes in geometry after machining are reduced.

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label: heat treating, annealing, normalizing, stress relieving,. qunench, quench temper, tool steels, hardness, Brinell, rockwell, alloyed steel, carbon contenet