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I Forge Iron

Effects of Heat Cleaning on Gas Tanks

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I'm new to this form and heat-treating in general, so please forgive my ignorance...

We work on a wide variety of motorcycle gas tanks and use heat cleaning (burn-off process of approx. 900 degrees f for an hour) on some. We have been testing various dent removal techniques after heat cleaning and have noticed the metal seems to be harder to move and more brittle (dent pulling pins tear holes easily).
Would the time and temps listed alter the working properties of the metal? If so, is there a way to minimize or reverse the effects of the heat?
Thanks in advance for your input.
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Welcome to IFI... I always suggest reading this to get the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST  Knowing where in the world you are located may help with answers, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show your location. To answer the question, yes the heat will alter the steel.

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you'll find out how many members live within visiting distance.

The tanks  are cooling too fast, they're thin so even ambient air will "quench them like a knife blade. 900f.  seems kind of low temp but close enough I think. As Steve suggests annealing will return them to full soft.do you have an oven in the shop? Crank it to max and transfer the tanks immediately and let them cool when you turn the oven off.  

OR you can probably wrap them in fiberglass batt at full heat right out of the cleaning process. Experiment with a test piece of steel first to see if the glass melts. If not give it a shot with a tank and see.

They need to cool slowly to allow the carbon and iron molecules to return to positions that allow them to slide past each other. A quick cooling from a high temperature,(critical temp) locks the carbon and iron in positions that essentially cement them together making the steel hard. And that was Frosty's laughably basic description of how carbon makes steel hard and how to undo it. 

Give them an hour or two at least to cool. If wrapping in fiberglass batt doesn't work give us a shout, there are other ways, they're just more hassle

Frosty The Lucky.

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