The purpose of this study is to design and test an alternative method for the quenching of aluminum samples. The heat treatments of metals involve subjecting the specimen to various heating/cooling routines to achieve desirable physical characteristics. However, metal, like many materials, expands and contracts when it is heated and cooled. These expansions and contractions introduce internal stresses in the metal as it is treated and can cause one of two things; either the metal becomes warped and the part is no longer within the specified dimensions, or these stresses can introduce vacancies in the microstructures of the metals themselves.
The difficulty with the quenching process is maintaining a steady flow of uniformly cooled water over the metal being treated. Current designs contain chillers and are massive but still have difficulty treating more than one part at a time, since the water heats up extremely fast and unevenly, leading to the warping and impurities within the metal. One current solution is increasing the size of the tank which significantly increases cost and maintenance.
The design I am currently working introduces a secondary tank adjacent to and larger than the quench tank itself. This tank contains most of the quenching fluid so that as the process is carried out, the fluid heated by the hot metal can be removed and recycled via smaller pumps from the quench to the holding tank. The constant cold flow will ensure that the entirety of the metal specimen is subjected to a uniform temperature fluid, leading to consistent microstructures and minimal impurities.