We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Work Hardening?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Also known as strain hardening, work hardening is a process that makes it possible to increase the strength of a metal component with the use of what is known as plastic deformation. Some metals and metal alloys, such as aluminum or copper, are most efficiently strengthened using this particular approach. The essential process involves the creation of specific dislocation movements within the structure of the metal itself that result in retaining all the characteristics of the metal while still equipping the material with additional strengthening.

There are several different processed that may be used to bring about work hardening. In some cases, the process involves the use of heat. This is particularly true in situations when there is a desire to reshape the metal while also adding to the strength of the finished product. At other times, the metal may undergo the plastic deformation using cold rather than heat. In this scenario, the temperature of the metal is reduced to a level that crystallization within the metal occurs, making it possible to bend, squeeze, draw, or shear the metal to create the desired shape and degree of strength.

While the process of work hardening is taking place, the metal is often somewhat malleable, making it easier to work the material into whatever shape is desired. For example, copper that is undergoing the process will be somewhat malleable using either heat or cold to produce the effect. During this period, it is a simple process to stretch, bend or even hammer the copper into whatever shape is desired. Once the hardening process is completed, the copper is highly durable and has the ability to retain its shape over the long-term.

One of the benefits of work hardening is that the process can help reduce the potential for cracking along the surface of the strengthened metal or metal alloy. By employing the process, it is possible to use metals in the creation of devices that are designed to withstand a specific amount of load for a certain period of time. Since work hardening is not a process that can be reversed, the strength is easily measured, making it possible to choose the right metal or alloy for the manufacture of the product.

The advantages of work hardening also include the ability to control the rate of contamination within the metal itself. This in turn aids in strengthening the metal, since the presence of contaminants that could weaken the metal at various points is kept to a minimum. The result is a uniformity of strength that helps to ensure the life of the finished product, assuming that the product is subjected to use that is in compliance with the standards set by the manufacturer.

There are also some disadvantages associated with work hardening that make it a process to avoid in some situations. The metal will be somewhat less ductile after the treatment, making it unfit for the production of certain types of products. In addition, a great deal of force is required as part of the process, whether heat or cold is employed. The directional properties of the metal may also be adversely affected, another factor that may render the metal unusable for certain purposes. For this reason, work hardening may be desirable, based on the nature of the products that will be made from the metal, or be completely undesirable as an event that unintentionally occurs during a manufacturing process.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum

Writer

Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.