Strengthening of Surface Induction Hardened Parts for Automotive Shafts Subject to Torsional Load
The purpose of this study is twofold: to clarify the factors governing the torsional strength of surface induction hardened parts and, to present a method for strengthening automotive shaft parts for their weight reduction. The torsional strength against Mode III fracture can be expresssed by a new indicator, “equivalent hardness” defined as an average hardness weighted with the radius squared. If the equivalent hardness is continuously increased, the fracture mode change from Mode III to Mode I. The torsional strength against Mode I fracture is governed by grain boundary strength. Accordingly, the key-points in increasing the torsional strength of surface induction hardened parts are to raise the equivalent hardness and increase the grain boundary strength of the steel. By application of this method, the torsional strength of steel can be raised by 50%, which, in turn, enables about a 25% weight reduction for shaft parts.