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4

The other answers describe the "materials science" mechanisms of iron vs. temperature. I'm going to add this: Matter "tries" to reach a minimum energy state whenever possible. In general, then, if you cool something as slowly as possible, you'll come closest to a solid which is a perfect crystalline structure. See "annealing."...


6

You are mixing apples and oranges. Many steels harden by rapid cooling, but very few other metals do that; specifically, only aluminum bronze and certain titanium alloys. Many metals will strengthen by age hardening; Rapid cool softens, and then time at a lower temperature strengthens them. There are a myriad of combinations, like HSS (high-speed steels). ...


9

The effects of heating-quenching a metal is explained below Transformation hardening is the heat-quench-tempering heat treatment cycle addressed earlier in this article. It's used to adjust strength and ductility to meet specific application requirements. There are three steps to transformation hardening: Cause the steel to become completely austenitic by ...


14

In short the heat treatments in steel change the phase of iron between the following phases: Austenite Cementite Martensite Bainite Ferrite Perlite. (Actually quenching does not allow low temperature phase changes to occur, so effectively the phases are sort of "frozen" in their high temperature equivalents). Figure 1 : example of continuoous ...


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