What is Deep Cryogenic Treatment?
For an in depth definition of DCT, Read the ASM Handbook Volume 4A article on the subject.
Deep Cryogenic Treatment is simply using extreme cold temperatures to change the structure of materials. Traditional metallurgists will tell you that the only thing that cryogenics will do is convert retained austenite to martensite in hardened steels. This is not correct as numerous peer reviewed research papers from world famous universities and government labs attest to.
Read Thermal Processing Magazines article Deep Cryogenic Treatment on this subject.
How does it work?
Humans have used cold processing of metals across cultures for centuries. Scandinavian sword makers knew that swords left in the snow to season after forging were less likely to break. Early automakers understood engine blocks made in fall and left to age over the winter outside performed better. (This should have been a clue, as there is no martensite in cast iron engine blocks.) It wasn’t until technology advanced far enough to offer controlled and reproducible cryogenic conditions that the full benefit was realized.
The crystalline structure of metals and some plastics undergo a change with temperature. As the temperature drops, the movement of the atoms in the material begins to slow. The solubility of alloying atoms in the matrix changes. The spaces between atoms begin to contract with this lower momentum. Vacancies in the crystal matrix are removed. The result of cryogenic processing is a refinement of the crystal structure into a more uniform and durable formation. As the material is brought slowly back to room temperature, the speed of the particles increases, but with far fewer gaps, better distribution of alloying elements, formation of fine carbides and a more perfect crystalline alignment.
How can it work for me?
Cryogenic processing takes the tools you depend on and makes them better. While it is not a cure for bad heat-treating and will not perceptibly harden every component, it makes your part more reliable. By smoothing out natural weak spots in the crystalline structure, you have a tool that can run longer under stress. Cryogenic Treatment will increase both fatigue life and abrasion resistance. Longer run times and less maintenance adds up to money saved. That directly affects your bottom line.
Can it really help my bottom line?
If you use a metal part, tool, or component, yes! Cryogenic processing can help you get the most out of your metal—and dramatically improve your bottom line. Here are a few examples:
Whether you’re turning circles on a racecourse or delivering packages through rain and snow, cryogenic processing can give you longer life in many of your vehicle’s high-stress components.
Tools, dies, and electric motors all have parts that cryogenic treatment can extend the life of.
Cryogenic treatment is integral in improving parts for computers, stereos, and other electronic devices.
Cryogenic processing of engine components, screws, and props give you more durability to stand up to everything the deep can throw at you.
Musical instruments that are picked as superior in blind tests. Guitar and piano strings have superior life and tone.