In hot forming die quenching, furnaces are used to austenitize steel blanks and transform an Al-Si layer into a permanent Al-Si-Fe coating. Application of a simplified heat transfer model to thermocouple measurements on steel blanks heated in industrial furnaces showed specific heats that varied with blank thicknesses, raising questions about the accuracy of these measurements. A detailed experimental study on a lab scale muffle furnace shows that natural convection and variations in the surrounding temperatures has a strong influence on the inferred specific heat. An improved heat transfer model is used to qualitatively assess how austenitization influences the effective specific heat.

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