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work hardening

the toughening or strengthening of a metal by cold-working or another mechanical process.
Also called strain hardening.


[wurk-hahrd-n] /ˈwɜrkˌhɑrd n/
verb (used with object)
to toughen or strengthen (a metal) by cold-working or another mechanical process. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for work hardening
  • The reviewer is of the opinion that a work hardening program of six weeks is not indicated or medically necessary.
  • It also reported that the patient completed a chronic pain program and was recommended for a work hardening program.
  • Please advise the medical necessity of the proposed work hardening program regarding the above mentioned injured worker.
  • From a physical perspective, there is no observed indication that a work hardening program is medically necessary.
British Dictionary definitions for work hardening


(transitive) to increase the strength or hardness of (a metal) by a mechanical process, such as tension, compression, or torsion
Derived Forms
work-hardening, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for work hardening

in metallurgy, increase in hardness of a metal induced, deliberately or accidentally, by hammering, rolling, drawing, or other physical processes. Although the first few deformations imposed on metal by such treatment weaken it, its strength is increased by continued deformations. The reason for this seeming paradox lies in the crystalline structure of metal. As stresses are exerted, the crystals slip against each other; but, because of the complexity of the crystal structure, the more such slips are multiplied, the more they tend to place obstacles in the way of further slippage, because the various dislocation lines crisscross each other. See also tempering.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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