The process of atoms moving through a metal is called diffusion. Even though we cannot see the atoms moving around, we can see the effects of their motion in the form of changes to a metal’s microstructure and properties.
Diffusion is important for processes such as heat treatment for metal strengthening and hardening, annealing for increasing metal ductility, soldering and brazing, and steel case hardening. On a practical level, understanding how atoms move through a metal enables an understanding of how to select and control manufacturing process conditions.
This lesson explains how atoms diffuse through a metal and the variables that influence the speed of atom motion and the metallurgical changes that occur due to diffusion.
What you will learn about diffusion
- How atoms move through metals
- Two mechanisms by which diffusion occurs
- How metal temperature and time at temperature influence changes in metal microstructure and properties
We recommend you take the lesson below prior to taking the Diffusion lesson
"A group of us took several courses (Principles of Metallurgy, Metallurgy of Steel, Corrosion of Metals) to become more knowledgeable about the science of metals to avoid problems. For me, the biggest impact of the training was on working with suppliers. I feel more confident asking questions and I now know the suppliers which know their stuff and which ones don’t. And it was great being able to get the training when it was convenient for me."Sam Bloodgood, VP Process Improvement, Hydraforce, Inc.
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“This is an excellent course (Metallurgy of Steel Heat Treating) for learning basic heat treating practices. The course introduces and covers a broad range of processes. I would recommend it for anyone in the steel business.”Jim Marks, Magellan Corporation
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