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What is metal stress relief?

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Published by: iFactory Support, June 07, 2016

Any metal material that is subject to a load or any applied force is subject to metal stress.  Steel processing methods such as cutting, machining and welding cause metal stress. The main types of stress that affects metal such as steel, includes:

  • Residual stress – manufacturing processes are usually responsible for creating residual stress in metal. Residual stress can influence how a metal or alloy will be affected by factors such as corrosion and metal fatigue and residual stress can also affect a metal’s breaking strength
  • Structural stress – relates to how well a structure’s tensile strength will perform under a range of applied forces and conditions.
  • Thermal stress – refers to temperature change. Metal expands in higher temperatures and contracts as temperatures decrease. Restricting the expansion or contraction of a metal causes thermal stress

Processing methods such as metal cutting, machining and welding cause metal stress

Is there a cure for metal stress?

The short answer is yes. Metal stress can certainly be removed altogether or significantly reduced using metal stress relief before the manufacturing process.

Metal stress relief can be applied to ferrous metal such as steel as well as non-ferrous alloys. Stress relieving involves heating metal and then ensuring it is cooled uniformly. The process doesn’t produce significant changes in the structural or mechanical properties of the material, it simply prepares metals for processing and reduces the risk of a material such as steel, becoming distorted, cracking or corroding.

The process for metal stress relief is similar to flame hardening but the maximum temperature and cooling rates are different. Common methods for stress relieving carbon steel and alloy steel include:

  • Heating steel to 150-200 degrees Celsius after hardening relieves peak stresses and is used for components such as ball bearings.
  • Heating steel to 550 – 680 degrees Celsius after welding or machining relieves virtually all metal stress in steel.

ShapeCUT carries the largest quantities of steel plate stock in Queensland – across all grades, sizes and thickness – at our metal cutting facility in Brisbane. Our metal cutting services include bevelling, drilling, bending, rolling, machining and laser cutting. Our quality in-house stock of steel and aluminium together with our experienced staff and state-of-the-art machines allow us to deliver a same day service.

If you’re looking for fast, accurate and reliable metal cutting services contact us for a quote.