Comparison of Austempering and Quench-and-Tempering Processes for Carburized Automotive Steels
Carburized parts often see use in powertrain components for the automotive industry. These parts are commonly quenched and tempered after the carburizing process. The present study compared the austempering heat treatment to the traditional quench-and-temper process for carburized parts. Samples were produced from SAE 8620, 4320, and 8822 steels and heat treated across a range of conditions for austempering and for quench-and-tempering. Distortion was examined through the use of Navy C-Ring samples. Microstructure, hardness, and Charpy toughness were also examined. X-ray diffraction was used to compare the residual stress found in the case of the components after the quench-and-temper and the austempering heat treatments. Austempering samples showed less distortion and higher compressive residual stresses, while maintaining comparable hardness values in both case and core. Toughness measurements were also comparable between both processes.