Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Makhlouf M. Makhlouf, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Richard D. Sisson, Jr., Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Yiming (Kevin) Rong, Advisor




Gas quench technology has been rapidly developed recently with the intent to replace water and oil quench for medium and high hardenability steel. One of the significant advantages is to reduce the distortion and stress, compared to water and oil quench. However, not like liquid quench, no gas quench steel hardenability test standard exists. The fundamental difference between liquid quench and gas quench is heat transfer coefficient. The workpiece with the same hardness after liquid and gas quench process may have different microstructure due to different cooling curves. The concept of equivalent gas quench heat transfer coefficient (HTC) is proposed to have the same cooling curve, microstructure and hardness when compared with liquid quench. Several influencing factors on steel hardenability have been discussed, such as austenizing temperature, heating rate, holding time, composition variation and grain size difference. The phase quantification by X-ray Diffraction and Rietveld Refinement method is developed to measure phase percentage for steel microstructure, including martensite, ferrite and carbides. The limitations and improvements of modified Jominy gas quench test are discussed. The fundamental limitation of Jominy gas quench test is that one gas quench condition cannot be used for both low hardenability steel and high hardenability steel at the same time. The same steel grade would have different hardenability curves under different gas quench conditions, which made it difficult to compare the hardenability among different steels. The critical HTC test based on Grossmann test is proposed to overcome the limitations. In the test, different gas quench HTC conditions are applied to the sample with the same geometry. After sectioning each bar at mid-length, the bar that has 50% martensite at its center is selected, and the applied gas quench HTC of this bar is designated as the critical HTC. This test has many advantages to take the place of modified Jominy gas quench test. Since one of the advantages of gas quench is greater process flexibility to vary cooling rates, gas marquenching technology is proposed to obtain martensite with less sever cooling rate and reduce the distortion and stress.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Materials Science & Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





critical heat transfer coefficient, hardenability, gas quench