Properties of Quenched Steel
Why is quenched steel harder and stiffer than steel that is allowed to cool
by itself? What are the physical processes involved?
Quenching results in smaller grains than air cooled.
This means more boundaries, which means harder steel.
Martensite (rapidly cooled)has more, but smaller
(slit-shaped) grains than pearlite (slowly
air-cooled), which has larger rounder grains.
Hope this helps
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Update: June 2012