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Metallographic examination of hardened layers after surface treatments by highly concentrated plasma jet

Journal: Reporter of the Priazovskyi State Technical University. Section: Technical sciences (Vol.34, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 98-105

Keywords : plasma hardening; microstructure; gradient layer; grain size; martensite; micro-hardness;

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The microstructure of carbon and alloy steels with various carbon contents before and after the gradient hardening by means of highly concentrated plasma jet have been investigated. It is shown that the resulting structure after the surface hardening has a substantially smaller grain size as compared to the bulk hardening. The steels with different carbon content, that is hypoeutectic steels 45 and 50HN, eutectic steels – M76, U8, hypereutectoid steels – 90HF, U10 have been researched. Processing was carried out under the optimal conditions to ensure the highest hardness of the surface without melting. Metalgraphical studies were carried out using optical and scanning electron microscopes. High-dispersed martensite is the main structural component for hypoeutectic steels. Despite the fact that the heating temperature and the cooling rate in different parts of the plasma exposure zone differ greatly, the structure of the tempered zone is uniform by both the degree of dispersion and by the values of hardness. Plasma treatment of eutectic steels results in fine-grained structure of martensite of mainly lamellar morphology. High-dispersed martensite with microparticles of secondary carbides is characteristic of the hardened zones for hypereutectic steels. But austenite grains do not grow at heating as it usually happens in bulk hardening. The structure of the transition zone corresponds to part-hardened steels. So excess ferrite as well as martensite retains in hypoeutectic steels while excess cementite retains in hypereutectic steels. Eutectic steels are free from the intercritical interval, and the transition zone does not practically develop, there being a very sharp boundary between the zone of full hardening and the parent metal. Due to this structure of the plasma hardening zone of the surface layer there arises 3,5...4,5-fold increase in the hardness of the steel as compared with the normalized condition. This is due to the increase in the degree of saturation of the solid solution with alloying elements and carbon, and size-reduction of the hardened structure

Last modified: 2018-04-11 20:27:39