There is an old adage that says, “If you don’t know it, know where to find it.” Given the information age in which we live, with the Internet at our fingertips and “ask Siri” or “Alexa, what is…” at our beck and call, solving problems and getting answers to our questions seems faster and easier than ever before. As heat treaters, metallurgists and engineers, however, we know the information we find must be filtered, checked and verified as to its accuracy and applicability. As such, we must also have reference books available to us. Let’s learn more.

When it comes to understanding any subject, and heat treatment in particular, having sources you can trust is invaluable. Establishing a good technical reference library (Fig. 1), whether at work or at home (or both), is a good way to research the information you find, because solving everyday problems requires both an understanding of the root cause and an understanding of the underlying principles behind it. In addition, one must be able to uncover the entire scope of technical issues confronting us so as to find practical solutions and know why a particular phenomenon took place so that corrective action may be taken to avoid its reoccurrence in the future.

Presented here are at least the top-5 books in each category that are considered must-have references. Newer editions may exist in some cases, but exercise caution to ensure their contents are equal to or better than the originals. A more comprehensive listing can be found in the online Reference 1.


General Reference[1,2,3]

1. Herring, Daniel H., A Comprehensive Guide to Heat Treatment, Volumes 1 & 2, e-Books, Industrial Heating/BNP Media, 2018, (

2. Handbook of Mechanical Alloy Design, George E. Totten, Lie Xie and Kiyoshi Funatani (Eds.), Marcel Dekker Inc., 2004, ISBN 0-8247-4308-3, 734 pages

3. Mark’s Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, 9th Ed., Eugene A. Avallone and Theodore Baumeister III (Eds.), McGraw Hill Book Co., 1978, ISBN 0-07-004127-X

4. Metals Handbook, 1948 Ed., ASM International, 1948, 1,332 pages

5. Wegst, C. W., Stahlschlussel (Key to Steel), 20th Ed., Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3-922599-20-6, 720 pages


Atmosphere Heat Treating[1,2,3]

1. Herring, Daniel H., Atmosphere Heat Treatment, Volume I, BNP Media Group, 2014, ISBN 978-0-692-28393-6, 714 pages

2. Herring, Daniel H., Atmosphere Heat Treatment, Volume II, BNP Media Group, 2015, ISBN 978-0-692-51299-9, 803 pages  

3. Steel Heat Treatment Handbook: Equipment and Process Design, 2nd Ed., George E Totten (Ed.), CRC Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8493-8454-7, 713 pages

4. Parish, Geoffrey, Carburizing: Microstructure and Properties, ASM International, 1999, ISBN 0-87170-666-0, 247 pages

5. Haga, L. J., Practical Heat Treating, Metal Treating Institute


Furnace Atmospheres – Generation (old but relevant)[11,12]

1. Metals Handbook, Vol. 2, Heat Treating, Cleaning and Finishing, 8th Ed., ASM International, 1964, LOC 27-12046, 708 pages

2. Hotchkiss, A. G. and H. M. Webber, Protective Atmospheres, John Wiley & Sons, 1953, LOC 53-8521, 341 pages


Vacuum Heat Treating[1,2,3,14]               

1. Herring, Daniel H., Vacuum Heat Treating, BNP Media, 2014, ISBN 978-0-9767565-0-7, 512 pages

2. Herring, Daniel H., Vacuum Heat Treating Volume II, BNP Media, 2016, ISBN 978-0-692-76738-2, 1,076 pages

3. Vacuum Technology: Practical Heat Treating and Brazing, Roger Fabian (Ed.), ASM International, 1993, ISBN 0-87170-477-3, 253 pages

4. Brunner Jr., William F. and Thomas H. Batzer, Practical Vacuum Techniques, Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co., 1974, ISBN 0-88275-146-8, 198 pages        

5. The Vacuum Technology Book, Pfeiffer Vacuum Inc., 2008


Applied Energy[1,2,3,8]

1. Haimbaugh, Richard E., Practical Induction Heat Treating, ASM International, 2001, ISBN 0-87170-743-8, 332 pages

2. Rudnev, V., D. Loveless, R. Cook, and M. Black, Handbook of Induction Heating, Marcel Dekker, 2003

3. ASM Handbook, Volume 4C:: Induction Heating and Heat Treatment, Valery Rudnev and George E. Totten (Eds.), ASM International, 2014, ISBN 978-1-62708-012-5, 820 pages

4. Tudbury, Chester A., Basics of Induction Heating, Vol. 1 and 2, 1960, LOC 60-8958, 132 pages, (Vol. 1) and 121 pages, (Vol. 2)

5. Semiatin, S.L. and D. E. Stutz, Induction Heat Treatment of Steel, ASM International, 1986, ISBN 978-0-087170-21101, 308 pages



1. Totten, G. E., C. E. Bates and N. A. Clinton, Handbook of Quenchants and Quenching Technology, ASM International, 1992, ISBN 0-87170-448-X, 507 pages

2. Lišcˇic´, B. and H.M. Tensi, L.C.F. Canale and G.E. Totten, Quenching Theory and Technology 2nd Ed, CRC Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8493-9279-5, 725 pages

3. N.I. Kobasko, M.A. Aronov, J. Powell and G.E. Totten, Intensive Quenching Systems: Engineering and Design, ASTM International, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8031-7019-3, 253 pages

4. Theory of Quenching and Quenching Technology: A Handbook, B. Lišcˇic´, H. M Tensi, and W. Luty (Eds.), Springer-Verlag,1992, ISBN 978-36620-1598-8, 484 pages

5. Totten, G.E. and D.S. MacKenzie, , Handbook of Aluminum: Vol. 1 - Physical Metallurgy and Processes, Marcel Dekker Inc., 2003, ISBN 978-0-8247-0494-0 (c.f. Chapter 20 on Aluminum Quenching), 1,310 pages


Heat Treatment (Practice)[1,2,3]

1. Heat Treater’s Guide: Practices and Procedures for Irons and Steels, 2nd Ed., Harry E. Chandler (Ed.), 1995, ASM International, ISBN 0-87170-520-6, 903 pages

2. Herring, Daniel H., A Comprehensive Guide to Heat Treatment, Volumes 1 & 2, e-Books, Industrial Heating/BNP Media, 2018, (

3. Steel and Its Heat Treatment: Bofors Handbook, Karl-Erik Thelning (Ed.), Butterworths, 1973, ISBN 0-408-70651-1, 570 pages

4. Bullen D.K., and the metallurgical staff of Battelle Memorial Institute, Steel and Its Heat Treatment, Vol. I: Principles, Processes, Control, John Wiley & Sons, 1938, 445 pages

5. Bullen D.K., and the metallurgical staff of Battelle Memorial Institute, Steel and Its Heat Treatment, Vol. II: Engineering and Special Purpose Steels, John Wiley & Sons, 1939, 491 pages


Heat Treatment (Theory)[1,2,3]

1. Krauss, G., Steels: Heat Treatment and Processing Principles, ASM International, 1990, ISBN 0-87170-370-X, 497 pages

2. ASM Handbook, Volume 4A: Steel Heat Treating: Fundamentals and Processes, Jon L. Dossett and George E. Totten (Eds.), ASM International, 2013, ISBN 978-1-62708-011-8, 768 pages

3. ASM Handbook, Volume 4B: Steel Heat Treating Technologies, Jon L. Dossett and George E. Totten (Eds.), ASM International, 2014, ISBN 978-1-62708-025-5, 528 pages

4. ASM Handbook, Volume 4D: Heat Treating of Irons and Steels, Jon L. Dossett and George E. Totten (Eds.), ASM International, 2014, ISBN 978-1-62708-066-8, 641 pages

5. Grossmann, M. A. and E. C. Bain, Principles of Heat Treatment, 5th Ed., ASM International, 1964, 302 pages

6. Steel Heat Treatment Handbook: Metallurgy and Technologies, 2nd Ed,, George E Totten (Ed.), CRC Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8493-8455-4, 831 pages

7. Burgess C. O., Heat Treating of Gray Iron, Gray Iron Founders’ Society, Inc., 1984, 121 pages


Ferrous Metallurgy[1,2,3]

1. Krauss, George, Steels: Processing, Structure, and Performance, ASM International, 2005, ISBN 0-87170-817-5, 613 pages

2. Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel, The., 9th Ed., Harold E. McGannon (Ed.), AISE (United States Steel Corp.), 1971, 1,420 pages

3. Llewellyn, D. T. and R. C. Hudd, Steels, Metallurgy & Applications, 3rd Ed., Butterworth Heinemann, 1998, ISBN 0-7506-3757-9, 389 pages

4. Mechanical Properties of Alloy Steel: Republic Alloy Steels Handbook, Booklet Adv. 1009, 1961, 84 pages

5. Alloying Elements and Their Effect on Hardenability: Republic Alloy Steels Handbook, Booklet Adv. 1009, 1961, 46 pages


Final Thoughts

Readers are encouraged to contact the writer ( with other reference books that they have found to be particularly helpful in solving heat-treating, metallurgy and engineering problems associated with the subjects listed (or others). As we update the list in the future, our library will continue to grow to the benefit of all.



Transformation Diagrams[1,2,3]

1. Atkins, M., Atlas of Continuous Cooling Transformation Diagrams for Engineering Steels, ASM International, 1977, ISBN 0-87170-093-X, 260 pages

2. Atlas of Isothermal Transformation Diagrams, United States Steel Corp., 1951, 143 pages

3. I–T Diagrams: Isothermal Transformation of Austenite in a Wide Variety of Steel, 3rd Ed., United States Steel Corporation, 1963, 183 pages

4. Atlas of Isothermal Transformation Diagrams (Supplement), United States Steel Corp., 1953, 529 pages

5. Atlas of Time-Temperature Diagrams for Irons and Steels, George F. Vander Voort (Ed.), 1991, ASM International, ISBN 0-87170-415-3, 766 pages

6. Atlas of Time-Temperature Diagrams for Nonferrous Alloys, ASM International, 1991


Nonferrous Metallurgy (Aluminum)[1,2,3,7,13]

1. Aluminum, Properties and Physical Metallurgy, John E. Hatch (Ed.), ASM International, 1984, ISBN 0-87170-176-6, 424 pages

2. Handbook of Aluminum, Vol. 1: Physical Metallurgy and Processes, George E. Totten and D. Scott Mackenzie (Eds.), Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2003, ISBN 0-8247-0494-0, 1,296 pages

3. Handbook of Aluminum, Vol. 1I: Alloy Production and Materials Manufacturing, George E. Totten and D. Scott Mackenzie (Eds.), Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2003, ISBN 0-8247-0896-2, 1,296 pages

4. Aluminium-Schlüssel: Key to Aluminium Alloys, 7th Ed., Dr.-Ing. Werner Hesse (Ed.), Aluminium-Verlag Marketing & Kommunikation GmbH, Düsseldorf, 2011 (in German and English)

5. Heat Treater’s Guide: Practices and Procedures for Nonferrous Alloys, 2nd Ed., Harry Chandler (Ed.), ASM International, 1996, ISBN 978-0-87170-565-5, 669 pages


Nonferrous Metallurgy (Other)[1,2,3,13]

1. Polmear, I. J., E. Light Alloys: Metallurgy of the Light Metals, Arnold Publisher, 1990, ISBN 0-34049-175-2, 278 pages

2. Heat Treater’s Guide: Practices and Procedures for Nonferrous Alloys, 2nd Ed., Chandler, Harry E. (Ed.), ASM International, 1996, ISBN 0-87170-565-6, 669 pages

3. Superalloys, A Technical Guide, 2nd Ed., M. J. Donachie and S. J. Donachie (Eds.), ASM International, 2002, ISBN 0-87170-749-7, 439 pages

4. Sims, Chester T. and William C. Hagel, Superalloys, The., John Wiley & Sons, 1972, ISBN 0-471-79207-1, 614 pages

5. Titanium, A Technical Guide, Matthew J. Donachie Jr. (Ed.), ASM International, 1988, ISBN 0-87170-309-2, 469 pages


Powder Metallurgy[1,2,3,15]

1. MPIF 35 P/M Structural, Material Standards for PM Structural Parts, Metal Powder Industries Federation, 2016

2. German, Randall M., Sintering Theory and Practice, John Wiley & Sons, 1996, ISBN 0-471057-86-X, 550 pages

3. German, Randall M., Powder Metallurgy of Iron and Steel, John Wiley & Sons, 1998, ISBN 0-471-15739-2, 496 pages

4. High Temperature Sintering, Howard I. Sanderow (Ed.), Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), ISBN 0-918404-97-5, 400 pages

5. German, R.M. and Bose, A., 1997: Injection Molding of Metals and Ceramics. Metal Powder Industries Federation, ISBN 978-1-87895-461, 413 pages


Joining (Brazing)[1,2,3,4]

1. Brazing Handbook, 5th Ed., American Welding Society, 2007, ISBN 978-08717-104-6-8, 740 pages

2. Peaslee, Robert L., Brazing Footprints, Case Studies in High Temperature Brazing, Wall Colmonoy Corporation, 2003, ISBN 0-9724479-0-3, 299 pages

3. Schwartz, Mel M., Brazing, ASM International, 1967, ISBN 0-87170-246-0, 455 pages

4. ASM Handbook, Volume 6: Welding, Brazing and Soldering, 10th Edition, ASM International, 1993, ISBN 978-0-87170-382-8, 1,299 pages

5. Roberts, Phillip M., Industrial Brazing Practice, 2nd Ed., CRC Press, 2013, ISBN 146-65677-4-0, 460 pages

6. Aluminum Brazing Handbook, 4th Ed., The Aluminum Association, Inc., 1998, 84 pages


Joining (Soldering, Welding)[1,2,3,4]                      

1. Manko, Howard H., Solders and Soldering, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1964, ISBN 07-0-39895-X, 323 pages

2. Linnert, George E., Welding Metallurgy; Carbon and Alloy SteelsVol.1 Fundamentals, 4th Ed., American Welding Society, 1995, 478 pages


Tool Steels[1,2,3]

1. Roberts, G. A., and J. C. Hamaker Jr., A. R. Johnson, Tool Steels, 3rd Ed., 1962, ASM International, 780 pages

2. Wilson, Robert, Metallurgy and Heat Treatment of Tool Steels, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1975, ISBN 0-07-084453-4, 378 pages

3. Payson, Peter, The Metallurgy of Tool Steels, John Wiley & Sons, 1962, LOC 62-16155, 349 pages

4. Palmer, Frank R. and George V. Luerssen, Tool Steel Simplified, Carpenter Technology Corp., 1977, ISBN 0-31055-805-6, 555 pages

5. The Tool Steel Trouble Shooter: An Analysis of 107 Tool Failures, Bethlehem Steel Corp., 1964, 125 pages


Heating Methods (Electric & Gas)[1,2,3,6]

1. NFPA 86 Standard for Ovens and Furnaces, National Fire Protection Agency [latest edition]

2. Reed, Richard J., North American Combustion Handbook, Vol. 1, 2nd Ed., North American Mfg. Co., 1978, ISBN 0-96015696-1-4, 501 pages

3. Reed, Richard J., North American Combustion Handbook, Vol. 2, 2nd Ed., North American Mfg. Co., 1986, ISBN 978-0960-159-63-5, 501 pages

4. IHEA Heat Processing Manual, Industrial Heating Equipment Association [latest edition]

5. Combustion Technology Manual, Industrial Heating Equipment Association [latest edition]


Metallurgy (Theory)[1,2,3]

1. Brandt, Daniel A. and J. C. Warner, Metallurgy Fundamentals, 4th Ed., Goodheart-Willcox Co. Inc., 1999, ISBN 1-56637-543-6, 256 pages

2. Practical Data for Metallurgists, 19th Ed., The Timken Co., 2017, 100 pages

3. Dieter Jr., George E., Mechanical Metallurgy, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1961, LOC 61-11385, 615 pages

4. Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist, Harry E. Chandler (Ed.), ASM International, 1998, ISBN 0-87170-652-0, 284 pages

5. Reed-Hill, Robert E., Physical Metallurgy, D. Van Nostrand Co. Inc., 1964, 630 pages

6. Bamford, T. G. and H. Harris, The Metallurgist’s Manual, (8 Volumes), Chapman & Hall Ltd., 1937, 256 pages


Metallurgy (Practice)[1,2,3]

1. Martensite, G. B. Olson and W. S. Owen (Eds.), ASM International, 1992, ISBN 0-87170-434-X, 331 pages

2. Bhadeshia, H. K. D. H., Bainite in Steels, The Institute of Materials, 1992, ISBN 0-901465-95-0, 451 pages

3. Boron in Steel, S. K. Banerji, and J. E. Morral (Eds.), The Metallurgical Society of AIME, 1980, ISBN 0-89520-363-4, 215 pages



1. Metals Handbook, Vol. 7, Atlas of Microstructures of Industrial Alloys, 8th Ed., ASM International, 1972, LOC 27-12046, 366 pages

2. Vander Voort, George F., Metallography Principles and Practice, ASM International, 1984, ISBN 0-87170-672-5, 752 pages

3. Applied Metallography, George F. Vander Voort (Ed.), Chapman & Hall, 1986, ISBN 0-042228-836-0, 301 pages

4. Samuels, L. E., Light Microscopy of Carbon Steels, ASM International, 1999, ISBN 0-87170-655-5, 502 pages

5. Huppman, W. J. and K. Dalal, Metallographic Atlas of Powder Metallurgy, Verlag Schmid, 1990, ISBN 978-9-99184-793, 1,190 pages

6. Petzow, Gunter, Metallographic Etching, 2nd Ed., ASM International, 1978, ISBN 0-87170-633-4, 143 pages

7. Mondolfo, Lucio, Metallography of Aluminum Alloys, John Wiley & Sons, 1943, 359 pages


Failure Analysis (General)[1,2,3]

1. Wulpi, Donald J., Understanding How Components Fail, 3rd Ed., ASM International, 2013, ISBN 0-87170-189-8, 262 pages

2. Barer, R. D., and Peters, B. F., Why Metals Fail, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1970, ISBN 0-677-02630-7, 345 pages

3. Ductility, Conference Proceedings, ASM International, 1968, LOC 68-29168, 380 pages

4. Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol. 1, Khefa A. Esaklul (Ed.), ASM International, 1992, ISBN 0-87170-078-6, 484 pages

5. Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol. 2, Khefa A. Esaklul (Ed.), ASM International, 1993, ISBN 0-87170-495-1, 581 pages

6. Dennies, Daniel P., How to Organize and Run a Failure Investigation, ASM International, 2005, ISBN 0-87170-811-6, 223 pages

7. Internal Stresses and Fatigue in Metals, Gerald M. Rassmeiler and William L. Grubbe (Eds.), Elsevier Publishing Company, 1959, LOC 59-8945, 451 pages


Failure Analysis (Hydrogen Assisted Cracking)[1,2,3]

1. Hydrogen Embrittlement and Stress Corrosion Cracking, R. Gibala and R. F. Hehemann (Eds.), ASM International, 1984, ISBN 0-87170-185-5, 324 pages

2. Timmins, P. F., Solutions to Hydrogen Attack in Steels, ASM International, 1997, ISBN 0-87170-597-4, 198 pages


Failure Analysis (Corrosion)[1,2,3]

1. Uhlig, Herbert H., Corrosion and Corrosion Control: An Introduction to Corrosion Engineering and Science, 2nd Ed., John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1971, ISBN 0-471-89563-6, 419 pages

2. Fontana, Mars G. and Norbert D. Greene, Corrosion Engineering, 2nd Ed., McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1978, ISBN 0-07-021461-1, 465 pages

3. Schweitzer, Philip A., Fundamentals of Metallic Corrosion: Atmospheric and Media Corrosion of Metals, CRC Press, 2007, ISBN 0-8493-8243-2, 725 pages

4. Gas Corrosion of Metals, Waldemar Bartoszewski (Trans.), U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Technical Information Center, Report TT 76-54038, 1975, 528 pages

5. Herro, Harvey M. and Robert D. Port, The Nalco Guide to Cooling Water Systems Failure Analysis, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1993, ISBN 0-07-028400-8, 420 pages


Quality Control (Inspection & Testing)[1,2,3]

1. Analysis of Casting Defects, American Foundrymen’s Society, 2002, ISBN 978-0-87433-004-5, 140 pages

2. Lysaght, Vincent and Anthony DeBellis, Hardness Testing Handbook, American Chain & Cable Co., 1974, 140 pages

3. Anderson, Robert Clark, Inspection of Metals: Vol. 1: Visual Examination, ASM International, 1983, ISBN 0-87170-159-6, 149 pages   

4. Practical Non-Destructive Testing, 2nd Ed., B. Raj Jaykumar (Ed.), ASM International, ISBN 0-87170-763-2, 184 pages

5. Tensile Testing, J. R. Davis (Ed.), ASM International, 2004, ISBN 0-87170-806-X, 283 pages

6. Davis, Harmer E., George Earl Troxell, and Clement T. Wiskocil, Testing and Inspection of Engineering Materials, The., 3rd Ed., McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1964, LOC 63-21885, 475 pages


Plating / Finishing[1,2,3]

1. Durney, Lawrence J., Trouble in Your Tank? Handbook for Solving Plating Problems, 3rd Ed. (includes disk), Hanser Gardner Publications, 1996, ISBN 1-56990-200-3, 243 pages

2. Metal Finishing Guidebook 2012/2013, Volume 110 Number 9A, Elsevier, Inc., 888 pages

3. Dennis, J.K., and T. E. Such, Nickel and Chromium Plating, John Wiley & Sons, 1972, ISBN 0-470-20921-6, 325 pages




1. Herring, Daniel H., Atmosphere Heat Treatment, Volume II, BNP Media, 2015

2. Herring, Daniel H., “A Heat Treaters Book Guide,” Industrial Heating, July 2006

3. Herring, Daniel H., “A Reference Library for Heat Treaters,” Heat Treating Progress, April/May 2003

4. Dan Kay, Kay & Associates, private correspondence

5. George Vander Voort, Vander Voort Consulting (, private correspondence

6. Tom Bannos, TS Thermal, private correspondence

7. Dr. George E. Totten, Totten & Associates (, private correspondence

8. Fred Specht, Interpower Induction (, private correspondence

9. Dr. D. Scott Mackenzie, Houghton International (, private correspondence

10. Craig Darragh, AgFox LLC, private correspondence

11. James Oakes, Super Systems, Inc. (, private correspondence

12. Donald Bowe, Air Products & Chemicals (, private correspondence                                       

13. Professor Joseph Benedyk, Illinois Institute of Technology (, private correspondence

14. William R. Jones, Solar Atmospheres (, private correspondence

15. Matthew J. Marzullo, CI Hayes (, private correspondence