Effect of Surface Heat Treatment on Corrosion-Related Failure of the Suspension Spring 2015-01-0518
In this research, a new wire material made using surface-reforming heat treatment was developed in order to enhance the corrosion fatigue resistance of suspension springs. The aim of surface reforming is to improve hydrogen embrittlement characteristics through grain refinement and to improve crack propagation resistance by partial softening of hardness.
The grain refinement method used an α'→γ reversed transformation by rapid short-term heating in repeated induction heating and quenching (R-IHQ) to refine the crystal grain size of SAE 9254 steel spring wire to 4 μm or less.
In order to simultaneously improve the fatigue crack propagation characteristics, the possibility of reducing the hardness immediately below the spring surface layer was also examined. By applying contour hardening in the second IHQ cycle, a heat affected zone (HAZ) is obtained immediately below the surface. Hardness immediately below the surface was reduced a maximum of 25% by making use of the tempering effect of this HAZ.
The corrosion durability life for springs made of wire material produced by the above method was approximately 50% higher than for those made by the conventional method. Greater compactness and lower weight were then successfully achieved by means of high-stress design.