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Materials Research

Print version ISSN 1516-1439

Abstract

ALLENSTEIN, Angela Nardelli; LEPIENSKI, Carlos Maurício; BUSCHINELLI, Augusto José de Almeida  and  BRUNATTO, Silvio Francisco. Plasma nitriding of CA-6NM steel: effect of H2 + N2 gas mixtures in nitride layer formation for low N2 contents at 500 ºC. Mat. Res. [online]. 2010, vol.13, n.4, pp. 557-562. ISSN 1516-1439.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-14392010000400020.

This work aims to characterize the phases, thickness, hardness and hardness profiles of the nitride layers formed on the CA-6NM martensitic stainless steel which was plasma nitrided in gas mixtures containing different nitrogen amounts. Nitriding was performed at 500 ºC temperature, and 532 Pa (4 Torr) pressure, for gas mixtures of 5% N2 + 95% H2, 10% N2 + 90% H2, and 20% N2 + 80% H2, and 2 hours nitriding time. A 6 hours nitriding time condition for gas mixture of 5% N2 + 95% H2 was also studied. Nitrided samples results were compared with non-nitrided condition. Thickness and microstructure of the nitrided layers were characterized by optical microscopy (OM), using Villela and Nital etchants, and the phases were identified by X-ray diffraction. Hardness profiles and hardness measured on surface steel were determined using Vickers hardness and nanoindentation tester, respectively. It was verified that nitrided layer produced in CA-6NM martensitc stainless steel is constituted of compound layer, being that formation of the diffusion zone was not observed for the studied conditions. The higher the nitrogen amounts in gas mixture the higher is the thickness of the nitrided layer and the probability to form different nitride phases, in the case γ'-Fe4N, ε-Fe2-3N and CrN phases. Intrinsic hardness of the nitrided layers produced in the CA-6NM stainless steel is about 12-14 GPa (~1200-1400 HV).

Keywords : plasma nitriding; Low N2 content gas mixtures; ASTM CA-6NM martensitic stainless steel; nanoindentation technique.

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