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What is cryogenic treating?

The typical cryogenic process uses dry nitrogen gas to slowly cool a holding chamber to below -300°F. Parts are kept at the temperature for up to 24 hours and then slowly brought back to room temperature.

At this extreme cold, the molecular structure of the parts is altered, increasing their durability. Soft austenite is completely converted to harder martensite.


First developed by NASA, cryogenic treating:

  1. Requires only a single treatment
  2. Affects an entire part, not just the surface
  3. Reduces brittleness
  4. Increases tensile strength, toughness and stability
  5. Is unaffected by refinishing or regrinding
  6. Relaxes internal stresses
  7. Increases resistance to abrasive wear

Case study briefs

  • From a paper converter in Agawam, Massachusetts: M-2 Lenox knives that were lasting 70 production hours are now lasting 240 production hours after cryogenic processing.
  • From a paper mill in Glens Falls, New York: a ductile iron pumper impeller that was lasting 6-7 months without processing lasts 14 months with processing.
  • From a chemical plant in Springfield, Massachusetts: processing of high-speed steel twist drills has increased their life by 300%.
  • From a chemical plant in Waterford, New York: O-1 granulator blades that previously lasted for 100 runs, now last for 120 runs with processing.
  • From a metal fabricator in Holyoke, Massachusetts: M-2 tool steel punch dies that needed resharpening after 12,000 hits are, with processing, still like new after 24,000 hits.

Current applications

  • Drill bits
  • End mills
  • Band saw blades
  • Punches/dies
  • Lathe inserts
  • Progressive dies
  • Fly and bed knives
  • Pump parts
  • Chains
  • Taps
  • Mower blades
  • Chipper knives
  • Softball bats
  • Trimmers
  • Slitters
  • Granulator blades
  • Screens
  • Molds

Spotlight application — Golf Clubs

Cryogenically treating your golf clubs can help add distance and control to your game! Manufacturing clubs from cryogenically-treated steel allows weight to be redistributed with thinner club walls and faces, which generate superior energy transfer for greater distance. Nicklaus Golf Equipment is the first manufacturer to apply cryogenic technology to its clubs on a large scale, producing a “cryogenic supersteel” that is 25% stronger and 18% harder than 6-4 titanium and 28% stronger than alpha maraging steel.

The cryogenic freezing process is also great for other sports equipment, including baseball bats, tennis rackets and fish hooks.

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