Oh! It’s gonna be a hot time!

Hurray for R&D! There really isn’t a reason to have stainless bars go through a separate annealing process, unless you want to spend the extra money. And who wants to do that?!

The way steel is made hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years, ya know? The industrial revolution was a way cool thing back in times long ago. We got all kinds of cool stuff – the biggest thing being embracing technology.

Even with the group hugging of technology, there are instances when technology outpaces end user material requirements. That is EXACTLY what has happened with time and temperatures and separate annealing of stainless steel bars.

I have this request come to me all the time. If I had, oh, a dime for every time I’ve been asked to have the mill “add times and temps to this MTR”, I would be living the good life, sitting back sipping a beverage on a beach, covered in SPF bazillion, watching the waves lap lazily on the beach (I’ve put some thought into this sippin’ beverages kind of day, huh?).

In this instance, the MTR didn’t have a time nor a temp on the MTR. So, the gal in receiving gave me a jingle and told me I needed to get the MTR revised, or she was going to quarantine my bars!

I realize this is 2020, but I’ve had my fill of quarantine-ing and social distancing. And my bright shiny bars do not deserve such treatment.

Today’s blog post is “How without times and temps, bars will meet ASTM 484”.

It’s a process, literally, called PROCESS ANNEALING.

The question is asked because within ASTM 484, there’s a table that indicates the temperature requirements that material is to “finish”.

Standards and specifications material is produced without temperature or time.

And that temperature isn’t in this list of standards and specifications! OH HEAVENS!!!

ASTM 484 is a pretty exhaustive standard specifically indicating what has to be in the material and how much (chemistry), what has to happen to that material (the producing process) and a bunch of other stuff that if I had it in front of me, I’d be happy to elaborate. But to get to the good stuff, there is a table that says that material has to be annealed at X degrees for X amount of time. I’d show a clip of it, but because of copyright stuff, I think best that I don’t, ya know whadda mean?

The MTR indicates that the material is also compliant to ASTM A479

Material compliant to ASTM A479 / A479M18

ASTM A479 has a good number of basic stuff for purchase orders for the material, what is “conforms” to and it’s all gotta be to the current rev (slang for revision level) to meet the standard. I mean, stuff like how its ordered on the PO, testing required, etc., etc. And guess what else?


For the record, making steel is a hot mess and not in the Sunday morning after Saturday nite kinda way. Its really a hot process. So its gonna meet, generally speaking A484.

So we’ve got the heat part explained, what about the time part (patience, my friends, I’m getting there).

Over the years, I’ve learned that standards or requirements of material meeting is a process.  Literally a process. I’ve often reminded folks how it was once told to me “It’s not brownies out of a box!” (Shout out to my aluminum bud, Laurie).

First – what is annealing and why is it necessary?

A separate annealing was performed back in the day when material “finished” at a lower temp than the table would allow. The problem with that – carbides precipitated out causing all kinds of problems with grain, corrosion resistance, and more I’m sure.

So, the answer to that problem was to plop the bars back into oven, bringing the bars back to temp quickly, then quenching the bars super fast to keep the material re-precipitating any other stuff that would influence “phases”.

Within ASTM A479 there’s an appendix paragraph (thank goodness for after the show shows, right?) that says basically, “Hey look!! We embrace technology, and you can also do this by PROCESS ANNEALING that’s always maintaining over the required temperatures followed up with quenching via hot rolling. That appendix paragraph, Folks is X1.1 (I’d put a snip in the blog, but I’ve addressed that already).

To give you tho a bit of the official jargon — ASTM basically acknowledges that while in process, austenitc stainless steels are annealed when its so freaking hot that the chrome carbide bits are pretty much liquefied and quenched lightning fast quick so the chrome carbide bits STAY OUT of the grain boundaries (yeah, don’t cross this line, Chrome Bits). This is a no intergranular attack zone right here, Pal!

Which translates to – the entire time this material is being produced, its hitting above those required temperatures.  Really.  THE. ENTIRE. TIME. 

How long is that—I’ve not been to a mill but if its 30 seconds or 3 hours, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is THE. ENTIRE. TIME.

I’m so happy!!!!

But I’m about to get happier because –

ASTM A479 also says you gotta meet ASTM A262 which is a corrosion test for process annealing proving that this material will not be “susceptible to Intergranular Attacks” (sounds like a B grade old Vincent Price horror flick). And the mills test for that because, they can’t ship material to ASTM 479 without it.

You’ll have some that will want the temps at 1850 degrees (usually an internal material requirement).  Send the MTR off to the mill and ask if the material was produced at that temp.  If they can, they will, if not, Tricia has still added the 1900 degrees as its widely accepted, and can usually get approved by material deviation requests.

Mostly tho, 1900 degrees is the magic number. 

Customers really don’t want a separate annealing. 

Here’s why:


Added costs

And why if the end result is the same?

I leave you with this: “There are three things that extremely hard: steel, a diamond , and to know oneself.” — Benjamin Franklin

17-4 H1150 has a +1 coming to the party.

How can H1150 meet H1150D mechanical properties? It all depends on if the material requirements will allow the use of the material. If the desire is the mechanical properties and not there double aging, it’s possible. Here’s the quick 411 on how.

There are a few times when I am just on, ya know? Maybe it’s the 32 ounce RTIC cup that my gal Audra (shout out to that Georgia girl in Philly now!) gave to me for Christmas so that I have a continuous hug in a mug (aka coffee), perhaps the mutli vitamin that I take daily (could it possibly be), or slight chance that it’s my Spotify playlist of baller jam playing just loudly enough for me to get the good mojo going when I hear Korn’s cover of “Word Up”.

Who knows? It happens, tho.

On this particular day, while listening ever so intently on a conference call from hell of excess inventory and what can be done about it, I spoke.

Those that know me, know I speak a lot. I mean, a lot. I’m a chatty kinda gal, silence makes me uncomfortable — much like too much white space on a paper. Like, it needs to be filled. Shockingly enough tho, I have learned on conference calls and most meetings, I need to just STFU and listen.

But this time, I just couldn’t.

Next thing, I know, while the discussion is about small diameter 17-4 H1150 (what I have always known to be SH (Single H) 1150 as in not DH (Double H) 1150, I pipe up like I have something important to say.

So I said, “I can see what we can do here in the Southwest with it as many times, SH1150 will meet DH1150 properties (the mechanical testing parts — yield, hardness, etc), IF the requirement is to meet properties and not the double heat treating.”

What? Who said that? Oh dayum. I spoke in a call when I should have just been noting the activity of next steps. Next steps? Whose steppin’? Well, that would be me, when it’s all over and the fat lady starts up the pipes.

But yep, Folks. It can happen. And it does. More than you’d think.

So why is 17-4 both single aged and double aged?

Well, to get the technical of it, I had to burn a call to my go to guys at 10.5% Guroos again. (One day, I’ll ask for permissions to use their names, they are great folks there and they help me daily. I mean DAILY.)

The standards for aged hardened material is none other than our buddies, good ol’ ASTM A564, AMS 5643 Mod, Condition H1150.

Notice I just mentioned SH1150. Not DH1150.

In our oil and gas world, we live by the standard NACE MRO 1795. NACE doesn’t even MENTION SH1150. Distant relative. Double H, Folks. Because more has to be better, I guess.

NACE is the National Association of Corrosive Engineers. The big think tank of folks way smarter than I that have been looking at corrosive properties of materials and having fun doing it. These cats sit around in chat rooms several times a year, talking about things like resistance to corrosion, useful life spans of the tooling, and oh mah gah, risk mitigation from tool failure (shudder!).

Back to DH (Double H)1150.

Well, heat treating a bar of 17-4 twice will give a bar higher strength and make the material harder, because not only is more better- the twice heat treated bar will be more resistant to a corrosive environment, have a longer useful life in the tooling and will be more resistant to failure in end use application.

To get there tho, its a very tight timeline thru a flaming hot. big ass oven.

When material gets treated, it actually gets softer. No shit. It does.

Tensile is lowered because the heat treating temps are in lower ranges and the second aging is at the freaking lowest temperature possible to obtain the desired results of –

Yep. Single H properties in a Double H bar.

My go to Guys at 10.5% Guroos (nope, I’ve not asked for permissions to use names yet– yes, I should have priorities in order) have advised me that temp ranges are sorta like suggestions — as in, “Get it this hot, don’t go over, because if ya do”,… Well, you just won yourself a fairly expensive do over, ya know whaddaimean?

Here’s the mechanical deets, Peeps!

 Ten(Min) Yield (min) ElongationReduction of Area Harndness (HRC) Impact (ft lbs) 
H1150135105165028 MIN30
DH1150125105165024 Min / 33 MAX30

Remember tho —

NACE is applicable to DH1150, Double H 1150 or even H1150D. To be in compliance completely with NACE, the material does have to go thru the second aging. In the check list world of receiving — that second aging has to be on that MTR. If not, it’s a reject. There are material requirements that don’t require he second aging. One just has to read the requirement to the MTR and ask the question — Do you want properties or the extra heat?

I leave you with this — “A grill is just a source of heat. Just like a stove, it is very user-friendly.” Bobby Flay

Let’s chat about finish ASTM A484 Part 2)

Well, let me be brutally honest with you. Years ago (seems like a lifetime to me), I began my career in purchasing in the valve business. I was voluntold for the position. The company I worked had gone thru an acquisition. A pretty positive thing for sure. But the Gent that was the purchasing guru of the “high end valves” (Monels and Titaniums), wasn’t keen on learning a “new system”. My job was to take an email that he sent to me with the quote request in the body, and attach drawings so that the manufacturer or vendor could produce the valves, by pouring or casting.

Yep. Attaching docs in an email is pretty difficult. Thank you Microsoft Engineers for drag and drop feature/function today.

This guy tho, pushed every button I had. He made me laugh. He made me so angry I couldn’t see straight. He made me cry tears of anger and frustration. I walked out of two meetings because he was a jackass. A total jackass. But he taught me much about purchasing and most importantly how to read a standard. His advice – “Peg, print it, mark out the BS, hilight the important words. Read the highlighted part. You’ll get it.”

I smoked (shudder, I have since quit) lots of cigarettes over this guy.

Let’s fast forward almost twenty years. Pete, I love ya, Bud, but it is just a skosche more than that.

Where I come from, my early days days in my career, finish wasn’t something that was taught to me. Hell, standards weren’t taught to me, really, until I landed where I currently sit. Oh, the standards have always been there, but within an internal material specification. My mill contacts knew those standards, and held my hand more times than not when I had to ask a question of said standards for the sales team (remember to utilize resources- can’t stress that enough. Mill reps and mill contacts are huge, BIG resources in your day).

It worked. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy (cred to Douglas–hope all is well with ya, Darlin).

Oh! But then I landed here. And honestly, up until about eighteen months or so ago, A484 made my eyes cross and glaze. You know what I’m talkin’ about? Deer in headlights. Times a bazillion.

A downturn in the primary economy in which one works will force one to learn it, ask questions, use it, rinse and repeat. Not to mention a co-worker that reminded me regularly, “Peg, dammit, you know this!!!”

Sometimes, one just needs affirmation. Ya know?

So I am going to explain as I understand it. Let me repeat that

As I understand it.

If you, Dear Reader don’t understand it, call a lifeline (5 minute rule exercised here).

If you, Dear Reader think I’m wrong, please comment (nicely- no haters here, please) because I am the keeper of keys and grounds here and I can edit.

The above statement is my sort of disclaimer. I have a mill rep that is absolutely awesome and I can already hear his eyes roll. Then there’s my immediate supervisor. He has forgotten more than I know on this subject. More actually, and he will be mentioned in future posts, I am sure of it.

So. What are we talking about? Oh yes. Finish. ASTM A484.

Technically, the standard says that finish is pretty much the surface of the metal and tolerances when that stainless steel bar ex mills (jargon for shipping from the mill). One knows the finish by the thermomechanical process used in producing the stainless bar (see the previous post).

Ok. Reading that again makes my head ache. But the Reader’s Digest version, as I understand it – the tolerances of the diameter of the bar (remember, my world is round).

Oh, there’s all kinds of finishes. Here’s a few: pickling (deleted for clarification in previous post), rough turned, centerless grinding, straightening, polished, peeled and polished, and the one that caused me lots of grief to wrap my head around, the infamous “cold drawn (or working) but not to increase mechanical properties” – (ASTM standard A484,

Note on cold draw not increase properties – It is my goal to be able to explain that one so that it can easily be understood. I am so not there yet. Sorry Kids.

Really, tho, in day to day ordering of stainless bar, I can make it super simple.

Remember these three:

Cold finished (usually abbreviated by CF)

Hot Finished (usually abbreviated by HF)

Rough Turned (usually abbreviated by HF and is basically the same as HF. Made ya look).

Oh, there’s lots of jargon in the biz. I have found that the jargon is usually used when creating a description because ERP systems/ programs have a field for “description”. I have to tell you honestly, those descriptions helped in the early learning of stainless because for me, I didn’t have to know numbers. Going thru doc review (shout out to my qual guys), I am surprised at what I didn’t think I knew but did know because I have read it a bazillion times.

Some of the jargon you may see: CFA – Cold Finished Annealed condition

CDA – Cold Drawn Annealed condition

HRART – Hot Rolled Annealed and Rough Turned

HRRT – Hot Rolled Annealed Rough Turned

CG – Centerless Ground

And the completely explanatory

Peeled and Polished.

Gotta give a high five and fist bump to my mill guy, Kev. You know who you are.

I will discuss tolerances that result from the finishes in the next post.

For now tho, I leave you with this:

“Quality in a service or product is not what you out into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” Peter Drucker

** Comments are appreciated and welcomed. Please tho- this is a no hate zone and intended to assist those coming behind me. I had and still have awesome resources that have struggled to help me understand. Because of those individuals, I am better than I really am.

Tolerance. In steel, it’s called ASTM A484

Tolerance is in short supply with me, especially lately. Traffic, people that drive the speed limit in the “fast lane”, airport security lines Oh! and waiting for Whataburger to deliver to the driver’s side window…

You get me. These are real struggles.

Oh wait. I’m not talking about the willingness to put up with something before driving yourself crazy, I’m talking about TOLERANCE as in the allowed variation in dimensions.

My world is round, especially in bar. I have remarked over the years that I do not subscribe to that flat world theory, but I have had to play the part a few times in a pinch (insert big shout out to my Cali and Dallas sales gals that have held my hand repeatedly when I had to brave this road less travelled). In my world, those tolerances are governed by ASTM A484.

ASTM A484 is all about bar conditions and finishes. Today tho, its just conditions. I’ll get to finishes later.

Conditions are determined by the last part (or parts) of what happens when bars are made that gives an idea of what the metal will be when it leaves the mill. The big word to describe this “part” is thermomechanical processing.

Wow. That’s a mouthful. But all it means is that the bar has had some sort of temperature put to it (the thermo part) with a machine or some sort of machinery shenanigans (the mechanical part).

And here’s that laundry list of things that are considered thermomechanical processing:

Hot worked, hot worked annealed, annealed, cold worked, hot worked quenched and tempered, normalized and tempered.

EDITED… pickling is not a condition. It is a finish which is discussed in ASTM A484 part 2. My apologies for having used that in this post. I have removed it for the purpose of staying within topic.

Why’s it important to know this? Well, in a word, because conditions influence the mechanical properties of the material — hardness, yield, tensile. The widgets of the world are manufactured knowing that a specific grade of metal will hold up to the stresses of the job– whatever job that widget has to do. Think of the widgets in your life. Screws, handles, espresso machines, cars, click pens – metal has to hold up to the repetition of use.

I leave you with this–

“Success is a science, if you have the conditions, you get the result.” Oscar Wilde