HARDNESS OF NITRIDED LAYERS TREATED BY PLASMA NITRIDING
Keywords:Austenitic stainless steel, microhardness, plasma nitriding
AbstractStainless steels, particularly the austenitic stainless grades are widely used in many industries due to good corrosion resistance, but very poor mechanical properties as surface hardness and wear resistance limit its possible use. Plasma nitriding is one of the few ways to increase the surface hardness of these steels, even though this will affect its corrosion resistance. This paper focuses on the description of the mechanical properties of nitrided layers in the two most widespread austenitic stainless steels AISI 304 and AISI 316L. The microstructure and properties of nitrided layers were evaluated by metallography and microhardness measurement. Surface properties of nitrided steels were characterized by Martens hardness. The results show that plasma nitriding created very hard nitrided layers with thickness about 40 μm and microhardness about 1300 HV0.05. Surface hardness measurements have shown that the maximum values for both steels are about 8.5 GPa, but have different behaviour under higher loads, when the AISI 316L nitrided layer began to crack on the surface and sink.
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