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What is solution annealing?

Solution annealing, also known as solution heat treatment, is a metallurgical process used to enhance the properties of metals, particularly stainless steels and other alloys. It involves three main steps:

  1. Heating: The metal is heated to a high temperature where alloying elements dissolve into a solid solution.
  2. Soaking: The metal is maintained at this high temperature for a period to ensure uniform dissolution.
  3. Quenching: The metal is rapidly cooled, usually by water or air quenching, to prevent the alloying elements from precipitating out of the solution.

This process improves the metal’s homogenization, relieves internal stresses, enhances corrosion resistance, and improves mechanical properties such as toughness and ductility.