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Low Temperature Surface Carburization of Stainless Steels

Description: Low-temperature colossal supersaturation (LTCSS) is a novel surface hardening method for carburization of austenitic stainless steels (SS) without the precipitation of carbides. The formation of carbides is kinetically suppressed, enabling extremely high or colossal carbon supersaturation. As a result, surface carbon concentrations in excess of 12 at. % are routinely achieved. This treatment increases the surface hardness by a factor of four to five, improving resistance to wear, corrosion, and fatigue, with significant retained ductility. LTCSS is a diffusional surface hardening process that provides a uniform and conformal hardened gradient surface with no risk of delamination or peeling. The treatment retains the austenitic phase and is completely non-magnetic. In addition, because parts are treated at low temperature, they do not distort or change dimensions. During this treatment, carbon diffusion proceeds into the metal at temperatures that constrain substitutional diffusion or mobility between the metal alloy elements. Though immobilized and unable to assemble to form carbides, chromium and similar alloying elements nonetheless draw enormous amounts of carbon into their interstitial spaces. The carbon in the interstitial spaces of the alloy crystals makes the surface harder than ever achieved before by more conventional heat treating or diffusion process. The carbon solid solution manifests a Vickers hardness often exceeding 1000 HV (equivalent to 70 HRC). This project objective was to extend the LTCSS treatment to other austenitic alloys, and to quantify improvements in fatigue, corrosion, and wear resistance. Highlights from the research include the following: • Extension of the applicability of the LTCSS process to a broad range of austenitic and duplex grades of steels • Demonstration of LTCSS ability for a variety of different component shapes and sizes • Detailed microstructural characterization of LTCSS-treated samples of 316L and other alloys • Thermodynamic modeling to explain the high degree of carbon solubility possible ...
Date: December 7, 2007
Creator: Collins, Sunniva R.; Heuer, Arthur H. & Sikka, Vinod K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department