This summer Chicago gained an unusual celebrity: Chance the Snapper. Chance is a 40 lb, 5+ foot alligator named after the city’s very own Chance the Rapper. For one whole July week, the rogue gator lived his best life swimming around the Humboldt Park Lagoon. We loved following our resident reptile’s Chicago adventures. We even joked that Chance could live in one of our forge shop quench tanks. We’re happy that our summertime celebrity was eventually captured. He’ll live out his days at Florida’s tropical St. Augustine Alligator Farm. In other words, Chance will have it a little cozier than swimming in one of our forge shop quench tanks.
What is exactly is quenching? In a forge shop, quenching is the process of strengthening steel by cooling it rapidly. This rapid cooling is achieved by water, oil, and air. Quenching hardens steel and prevent undesired low temperature affects, as quenching traps metal’s carbon atoms in a lattice formation. Traditionally, the lower the carbon content of the steel, the faster it needs to quench. Therefore, the more carbon in the material, the slower the quenching process. Quenching is an important part of metallurgy.
Anderson Shumaker’s forging shop contains 2 water quench tanks and 1 polymer quench tank. What’s the difference between these quenching methods? For example, water quenching creates higher hardness, but the result is more stress. On the other hand, oil quenching creates less stress, but it yields moderate hardness. Water cools rapidly while oil cools much slower. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages.
At Anderson Shumaker, we’re masters at quenching steel. However, we’re not masters at caring for alligators, even if Chance is just as Chicago as we are.
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