Austempering is a heat treatment process used to improve the toughness and ductility of materials. This process involves heating the material to a specific temperature, holding it there for a period of time to ensure even heating, and then rapidly cooling it in a quenching medium to a temperature just above the transformation temperature. The material is then held at this temperature for a certain period of time to allow the formation of a bainitic microstructure.
Austempering is different from conventional quenching in that the cooling rate is controlled to prevent the formation of brittle martensite. The bainitic microstructure that forms during austempering is more ductile and tougher than martensite, making it more suitable for high-stress applications. Austempering is often used on high-carbon steels and other ferrous alloys.
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