Tribological and Metallurgical Properties of Nitrided AISI 4340 Steel 2014-01-0959
Nitridng usually improves wear resistance and can be accomplished using a gas or plasma method; it's necessary to find if there is any difference in surface roughness, wear and/or wear mechanism when choosing between methods for nitriding. In this study, Ball-on-disk wear test was compared on coupons nitrided with five different nitriding cycles that processed at temperatures of 500-570°C, with a processing time of 8 - 80 hrs. Different compound layer thicknesses were formed, (5-8μm), and a minimum of 0.38 mm case depth was produced. Nitrided samples were also compared to nitrocarburized and the nitrided coupons with a “0” compound layer in a ball-on-disk test. Few selected coupons were post-polished and wear test on ball-on-disk test was compared with the coupons without post polishing. Optical surface roughness using White Light Interferometry (WLIM) and metallurgical testing was performed.
It was found that plasma nitrided coupons with post polishing had the highest wear resistance in comparison to the untreated coupons. Porous compound layer and oxide layer on a nitrocarburized coupon may have contributed to its wear resistance by retaining lubricant longer.