Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

Shawn Buchok, McMaster University Continuing Education Metallurgy and Business Administration graduate Shawn Buchok, McMaster University Continuing Education Metallurgy and Business Administration graduate

Metallurgy of Iron & Steel

Iron ore steel?
Know your product.

Gain a comprehensive knowledge of steel.

MET 451 - Heat Treatment of Steels-Winter 2019

Academic Credit Value:
3 units
Course Delivery Mode:
Hours of Study:
39 hours
Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Anti-requisite(s):
Instructor Name:
Gordana Cingara
Course Dates:
01/14/2019 - 04/07/2019

Required Course Materials:
Steels: Processing, Structure, and Performance. Krauss. 2nd Edition. **Purchase through ASM International**
Optional Course Materials:
Course Description:
The main objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the theory behind any heat treatment process and a working knowledge of the application, advantages and disadvantages of common commercial processes.  Students completing this course will have vocabulary common to the steel heat treatment industry. For students working in the steel industry this course will enable them to ask informed questions regarding steel quality, processing method and final design intent and interpret the answers for their own areas of work. 

The student is expected to know the five main metallurgical strengthening mechanisms and how they are applied to any heat treatment processes. The course covers the use and applications of the ironcarbon phase diagram, isothermal and continuous cooling curves, annealing, quench and tempering, and surface hardening treatments.  Heat treatment processes are applied to modern grades of stainless, tool and advanced high strength steel steels.Failure analysis and furnace equipment and protective atmospheres are briefly covered.
Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will:

Understand five ways to strengthen the metals and that strength is controlled by putting obstacles in the way of dislocation motion. 
Learn how to use Fe-Fe3C diagram to predict the microstructure of steels, and effects of alloying elements on eutectoid temperature and composition. 
Classification of steels
Understand iron-carbide diagram and microstructure/properties of cast iron.
Understand phase transformations and gain familiarity with time-temperature-transformation diagrams.
Understand diffusion dependent transformation and transformation of austenite to pearlite and bainite, as well as diffusionless transformation and how to produce the maretensite.
Learn parameters how to conduct annealing of steel, such as spherodizing, full anneal, normalizing, stress relief, isothermal annealing and quench annealing.
Learn how to conduct the quench and tempering of steels.
Gain familiarity with basic microstructural characterization techniques, including the optical and electron microscopy.
Learn about the furnace and quench equipment.
Understand the steel surface hardening methods.
Learn about the different types of furnace atmospheres.
Gain knowledge of stainless and tool steels, as well as HSLA, trip, and dual steels.
Apply theory and understand heat treatment defects that may happen due to under heating, or overheating, and basic riles in component design for heat treatment.
Course Evaluation
The final grade is calculated based on the following components:

Quizzes (4 @ 15%)           60%
Assignment                        20%
Participation                       20%
Course Format:
This course is designed to present the fundamental concepts and theories in metallurgy and promote the application to the workplace and professional practice. Course activities will include instructor presentations, required readings and experiential learning activities (i.e. case studies, group discussions, projects, etc.).

This course emphasizes student participation through weekly online discussion boards.  It is expected that students will read the assigned chapters per the weekly requirements.
Assignment Submission:
Course assignments are submitted to the appropriate A2L Assignment folder by the specified due date
Late Coursework:
Late penalties for assignments:  2% per day up to a maximum of 5 days.  If after 5 days an assignment has not been submitted, the student will receive a zero mark for that assignment.

Policy & Procedures:

Academic Regulations (Attendance, Coursework, Tests/Exams):
In accordance to McMaster University’s General Academic Regulations, “it is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.” Therefore, all students are expected to attend and complete the specific course requirements (i.e. attendance, assignments, and tests/exams) listed in the course outline on or bythe date specified. Students who need to arrange for coursework accommodation, as a result of medical, personal or family reasons, must contact the course instructor within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled due date. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Program Manager to discuss accommodations and procedures related to deferred tests and/or examinations within 48 hours days of the originally scheduled test/exam, as per policy. Failure to contact the course instructor, in the case of missed coursework, or the Program Manager, in the case of a missed test/examination, within the specified 48-hour day window will result in a grade of zero (0) on the coursework/exam and no further consideration will be granted.

*Note: Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of accommodation(s).
Academic Integrity
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity. Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
Improper collaboration in-group work.
Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Academic Accommodations:
Students with disabilities who require academic accommodations must contact the Student Accessibility Centre (SAS) to meet with an appropriate Disability Services Coordinator. To contact SAS, phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652, or email For further information, consult McMaster University’s Policy for Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities.
On-line Elements:
In this course, we will be using on-line elements, which may include email, Avenue to Learn, WebEX, and external web sites.  Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.
Course Changes:
The instructor reserves the right to modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly.
Course Withdrawal Policy:
Policies related to dropping a course and course withdrawals are posted to the Centre for Continuing Education’s program webpage, FAQs & Policies (
Storm Closure Policy:

In the event of inclement weather, the Centre for Continuing Education will abide by the University’s Storm Closure Policy:, and will only close if the University is closed.  All in-class courses, exams and room bookings by internal and external clients will be cancelled if the Centre for Continuing Education is closed.  On-line courses will take place as scheduled.

Grading Scale:


Equivalent Grade Point

Equivalent Percentages








































Course Schedule:




What’s Due?


To introduce yourself;

Introduction &review: 5 Ways to Strengthen Steel



Iron-Carbide Phase Diagram

Quiz 1 (covers week 1)


Phase Transformation, TTT, IT and CCT diagrams

Assignment 1

(covers weeks 1, 2 & 3)




Quenching and Tempering

Quiz 2 (covers weeks 4 & 5)


Microstructural characterizations


Surface Hardening



Classification of Steels, Stainless and Tool Steels

Quiz 3 (covers weeks 6, 7 & 8)


HSLA, TRIP and Dual Phase Steels


Cast Irons



Defects and Failure Analysis


Furnace equipment and atmospheres




Quiz 4 (covers weeks 9, 10 & 11)