Quenching is an important part of the heat treatment process for strengthening medium and high carbon steels. In the heat treatment cycle, the metal is heated to a desired temperature (above the eutectoid temperature) in the furnace and then cooled in a fluid medium such as water, brine, oil or air. Depending on the cooling rate, the mechanical and metallurgical properties of the metal can be altered in order to achieve the specific design parameters that are required by the part. The process in which the metal is cooled rapidly is termed the quenching process. Due to rapid cooling in a medium, such as water, brine, or oil, the quenching process produces an audible sound signature, as well as, acoustic emissions. In this paper, W1 tool steel is investigated through the use of a beam former that is equipped with 32 microphones. Using this device, it is demonstrated that the audible sounds that are produced when quenching depend on the heat treatment temperature and the size of the specimen.

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