Production of Niobium Carbide Layers on High-Strength Bainitic Steels by Thermochemical Treatment of Thermoreactive Diffusion Followed by Austempering
The authors would like to thank Baldan LTDA and Villares Metals S.A for technical support and the Laboratory of Structural Characterization (LCE/DEMa/UFSCar) for the general facilities. This work was conducted with the support of the Coordenacão de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil, Code of Funding 001, and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brazil, Code of Funding 305294/2015-6.
Steel Research International
The development of third-generation advanced high-strength steels aims for the production of low-alloy steels with a high strength-to-weight ratio through innovative heat treatments. Thermochemical treatments that eliminate reheating steps are an excellent alternative for the surface hardening of this type of alloy. Herein, the incorporation of a thermoreactive diffusion (TRD) thermochemical treatment along with austempering treatment to obtain carbide-coated high-strength bainitic steels is evaluated. For this purpose, samples of bainitic steels containing ≈1.5 wt% silicon are immersed in an austenitizing bath composed of ferro-niobium and sodium borate for 2, 4, and 6 h at 1100 °C. Subsequently, they are held isothermally in a 360 °C salt bath for 1 h. After treatment, the samples are characterized by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, dispersive energy spectroscopy, Knoop microhardness, and microadhesive wear tests. Microstructural analysis shows the formation of niobium carbide layers at the surface of a substrate composed of granular and plate bainite, characteristic of austempered high-silicon steels. These layers show thickness in the range of 4−9 μm, hardness from 2333 to 2599 HK, presenting hardness up to 6 times higher than the substrates, and wear resistance up to 8 times greater.
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de Oliveira, P. G. B., Triani, R. M., Filho, A. I., Neto, A. L., Totten, G. E., & Casteletti, L. C. (2021). Production of Niobium Carbide Layers on High‐Strength Bainitic Steels by Thermochemical Treatment of Thermoreactive Diffusion Followed by Austempering. Steel Research International, 2100352. https://doi.org/10.1002/srin.202100352