Theory Of Cryogenics


In order to understand how cryogenic processing can benefit you, it helps to understand the theory of cryogenics first, followed by the theory of deep cryogenic treatment. This will be covered in simple, layman’s terms, but if you would like to know more, there are more resources at the bottom of the page. For more information, you can always send us a message and one of our cryogenic specialists will get back to you.

Cryogenics Works On Any Crystalline Metal

Ferrous metals, such as steel, are comprised of atoms lined up in a crystalline lattice. This lattice is set by the alloys in the metal, the way it is forged, cast, or processed, and how it is subsequently treated. The manipulation of this lattice is at the heart of the theory of cryogenics.

No matter how perfect the production process, there will almost always be flaws in the final material. These imperfections can result from inconsistent treatment, variances in raw materials, or a whole host of other factors. Metal working, despite technological advancements, remains as much an art as it is a science. While they may not be visible to the naked eye, these flaws create weaknesses and stress points in the material.

The atoms that make up this lattice, even though they are bound together, are separated by empty spaces. There is a theoretical “correct” distance between the atom.  By lowering the temperature of a crystalline structure, the molecules draw closer together, collapsing these voids. The cooling and eventual reheating is done in a gradual controlled manner with the goal of forcing some of the previously mentioned flaws to correct themselves.

The theory of deep cryogenic treatment takes it a step farther. By dropping the temperature of materials even lower—as low as -450℉—the structure is forced into even tighter alignment. This shows improved results at optimizing the crystalline structure.

Cryogenics In Laymen’s Terms

As an analogy, imagine a high school football field. If you turn 200 kids loose onto the field, you’ve got a mess. They’ll gather in some places, spread out in others. If you get them into lines, however, face them the right way, and get them to keep their spacing, you have the start of a pretty impressive marching band because each part of the whole is where it’s supposed to be, doing what it’s supposed to do. That is about the simplest explanation of the goal behind the theory of cryogenics.

We’re trying to make sure every atom is in it’s place, facing the right way, doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. Give us a call today to find out how the theory of deep cryogenic treatment  can work for you, your business, and your bottom line.

Further Reading

If you’d like a more technical explanation of metal structure, we recommend Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist, which is available on the ASM International website. This book will give you an excellent overview of general metallurgy without going into mind-numbing detail. If you’re primarily interested in steels, they also offer Steel Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist.  Also, you can look at this page which is also a good resource on metals, though we do not make any endorsement of the company’s products.

If you want to know more about cryogenics in general, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a Cryogenic Technology Group. This group has a website with tremendous amounts of information about cryogenics in general. The Cryogenic Society of America also offers a stellar link page with many good resources.

What Can Cryogenics do for you?

If you want to see how the applied theory of cryogenics can benefit you, partner with industry leading experts. Contact Controlled Thermal Processing today to learn more about the advantages of deep cryogenic treatment.