Cited in every reference material on the subject, Edgar Bain, between the two World Wars, wrote the book on modern metallurgy.
His works describing the many heat treatment processes (particularly tempering and stress relieving) remain relevant to this day in the industry. While this article1 presents a biography of Edgar Bain, we should acknowledge the latter’s formidable contribution to the field and the direct impact of his body of work on the advancement of metallurgy in the 20th Century, in addition to physics and chemistry.

What’s important about this scientist is that he was a true research pioneer in the area of X-ray diffraction for crystal analysis, an interest partly fed by his fascination with this new technology. Over time, data collection, computation, and statistical analysis using modern computers have considerably altered heat treatment practices since Dr. Bain first compiled his findings on the effects of cementite (a carbon concentrate) during tempering. The advanced X-ray diffraction technologies demonstrated in recent literature lead me to believe that these earlier metallurgical standards must be revised, not only to boost the performance of tempering and stress relief processes but to make them more cost-effective.

1Paxton, H. W. & Austin J. B. Historical account of the contributions of E. C. Bain. Metallurgical Transactions. 1973.

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