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Cold Finished Steel

Cold finishing is the repeated application of force to deform and strengthen metal. This process is also known as hardening. Cold finishing is commonly used to process and strengthen nonferrous metal. Cold-finished steels are used where a fine finish is required where a uniformity of temper (degree of hardness) is essential for the best machinability; and where accuracy of shape and size are necessary, without the extra expense of additional machining.

In cold finishing, metal is strengthened when its shape is changed through hammering or bending. To apply this technique, place a small piece of soft copper tubing in a vise and strike it with a hammer. On the first blow, the tubing will flatten considerably. As you strike it repeatedly, however, the shape will change less and less with each blow. Eventually, you will have to strike the metal much harder to flatten it any further.

The repeated application of flattening force causes the metal to become harder and stronger. The metal has also become less soft and ductile. This is because the atomic structure of the metal has been changed into a stronger formation, and it is more resistant to stress. Hardened metal can withstand more force than metal in its original shape. Hardening is called cold finishing because the metal is not heated, so strengthening occurs at normal temperature.