What is Cryogenic Processing?
Cryogenic Processing, like many high tech processes, was pioneered in the aerospace industry. It has been used in the space program and in aviation circle to strengthen critical materials and increase their lifespans. The process itself involves cooling the product down to cryogenic temperatures (-320 F). The process changes the molecular structure of the treated material.
In most metals there are two forms of molecular grain structures: austenite and martensite. Austenite is a loose knit, weak grain structure while martensite is a dense, aligned, very strong structure. The best heat treating equipment available will still have a significant portion of retained austenite.
Deep cryogenic processing is the only known process to convert this retained austentic structure to the very strong and wear resistant martensitic structure. What this translates to is a very measurable increase in strength, wear resistance, and lifespan. In addition cryogenic treatment alleviates residual stresses from machining, forging, and other manufacturing processes; it's these stresses that cause unwanted harmonics in reciprocating assemblies, springs, and other cyclical components.
In Cryogenics, the material to be treated is placed in a moisture free processors where nitrogen gas is introduced to slowly cool the product at a rate of one degree per minute; this eliminates thermal shock which can actually weaken the material. Once the material has stabilized at a temperature of approximately 250 degrees below zero through the nitrogen gas phase, liquid nitrogen is introduced into the chamber for a "soak" period.
The material is allowed to soak in this liquid nitrogen bath until the liquid has boiled off (approximately 20-30 hours). It is then allowed to slowly return to ambient temperature (anther 30 hours) before it is heat stabilized in a batch oven. The entire process takes 72 hours and lasts the life of the material.
Both new and used components can be treated; it does not change the dimensional stability of the material, nor can it be removed by machining. It works on nodular iron, steel, aluminum, and some composites.
Pit #2:The Cryogenic Process Gear-by-Gear
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