Influence of Deep Cryogenic Treatment on the Mechanical Properties of Spring Steels

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Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance

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Leaf springs are mechanical elements responsible for supporting the vertical load on heavy duty vehicles. For this critical structural component, the required mechanical performance depends mainly on chemical composition and heat treatment. SAE 5160 and SAE 6140 steels are widely used as springs, because after heat treatments, the strength requirements of impact and fatigue are obtained. 51CrV4-ACF steel is another spring steel option which also exhibits excellent mechanical properties. The objective of this work was to study the influence of conventional heat treatments and cryogenic treatment on properties involving fatigue and impact resistance of spring steels. Furthermore, fracture toughness was measured for these materials, and the fracture surfaces were analyzed. The results showed that the cryogenic cycles used did not provide positive effects on spring steel performance. On the other hand, the chemical composition and the application of cleanliness technology promoted higher mechanical strength: Fracture toughness of 51CrV4-ACF was 100% higher than SAE 5160 steel.


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