Uranium at Y-12: Heat Treating and Machining

Posted: July 22, 2013 - 3:39pm | Y-12 Report | Volume 10, Issue 1 | 2013

Heat treating comprises various thermal processes, namely baths, furnaces and ovens. Heat treating operations allow uranium to acquire the appropriate mechanical properties such as high strength or high ductility. Knowledge of grain growth is essential for achieving specified properties.

Machining involves precisely removing uranium from a cast or formed workpiece by turning, milling, drilling, boring or grinding to produce a finished component. Y‑12 machinists must understand complex specifications, interpret highly technical drawings and operate many machine tools. Education and extensive field training enable the machinists to make on-the-spot adjustments, both by hand and by numerical controllers, to ensure that products are consistently made within tight tolerances.

Learn more about some of the complexities in reprocessing and safeguarding one of the nation’s most vital assets.