Is Your Art Steel Continually Breaking During Molding? Thermal Processing May Help

Posted on: 8 December 2016

Sculptors often work with steel because it provides a hard, yet flexible material that can be used for a variety of sculptures. However, if you keep snapping your steel when working with it, there's a good chance you need to harden it with thermal processing to make it more adaptable for your techniques.

You May Be Passing The Metal's Tensile Strength Point

When using steel bending techniques, you might be passing the tensile strength limit of the steel. The tensile strength is the amount of stress a material can handle before it either cracks or breaks in two. While steel has a fairly high level of tensile strength, you may be pushing it beyond its limits.

For example, if you are trying to make an art project that has 90-degree angles, there's a good chance you're being a little too hard on your steel. However, you can use thermal processing to make it more resistant to bending damage and breaking.

How Thermal Processing Can Help

Thermal processing applied to steel will help out sculptors like you by:

  • Increasing the hardness of the steel – this will make it less likely to snap while you work with it
  • Improving its ductility – makes it more durable and resistant to pressure and heat problems, making it easier to bend without cracking
  • Corrosion resistance – if you plan on displaying your steel sculpture outside, thermal processing can help make it more resistant to rust corrosion and other weather elements

Clearly, thermal processing has many benefits that makes it useful for sculptors. While it is primarily used by industrialists, there's no reason you can't also benefit from it.

How Thermal Processing Is Accomplished

There are multiple different thermal processing methods that you could use to increase the strength of your steel. For example, you could use a method that boosts the strength of your metal by adding a high level of heat to its surface. A small number of precipitates can also be added into the material to increase its strength past its original tensile strength point.

As a result, you can work with your steel and create sculptures and other pieces of art that are more extreme. The idea here is that the steel will be strong enough to handle stretching and moving past its normal threshold of strength. This will help create a more adaptable metal that you can use in any number of art projects.

Thermal processing is something that shouldn't be attempted on your own. A professional steel-hardener will understand the various techniques that can be utilized for thermal processing and will work to apply them to your material in a safe and effective way.