An experimental study was conducted in order to investigate the surface hardness enhancement of AISI D2 steel, by ion nitriding through atomic attrition. Following a conventional ion nitriding process of 120min under an atmosphere of H2 and N2, an atomic attrition process was applied to the surface of AISI D2 steel under a gas mixture of Ar and N2 for 360min. A conventional ion nitriding of 480min was also performed for the purposes of comparison. The results obtained demonstrate that the surface hardness of AISI D2 steel undergoing ion nitriding and atomic attrition was about 1500HV; which is the highest surface hardness among all the specimens tested, and almost 250HV higher than that of a conventionally ion nitrided specimen. After nitriding by atomic attrition, those grains located along grain boundaries and in the vicinity of precipitates in the surface region were recrystallized, which is believed to be caused by the stress field formed between grains and different phases. In addition, the specimen that was ion-nitrided by atomic attrition exhibited a higher nitrogen concentration and a consequently greater quantity of chromium nitrides at the surface region, when compared to a single nitrided specimen. This could be attributed to the sputtering characteristics of argon in the plasma nitriding. The refined grains, higher nitrogen concentration, and greater amount of chromium nitrides all represent significant factors in the enhanced surface hardening of AISI D2 steel.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry