Effect of ion nitriding on the abrasive wear resistance of ultrahigh-strength steels with different silicon contents

  • R. M. Muñoz Riofano
  • L. C. Casteletti
  • P. A. P. Nascente
Testing And Evaluation


This article studies the effect of silicon (Si) on ultrahigh-strength AISI 4340 steels in connection with the thermal treatment, as well as the influence of this element on nitriding and, consequently, abrasive wear. Four alloys with different Si contents were nitrided at 350 °C (4 and 8 h) and 500 and 550 °C (2 and 4 h) in a gas mixture of 80 vol.% H2 and 20 vol.% N2. The nitrided layers were characterized by microhardness and pin-on-disk tests, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometry, and x-ray diffraction (XRD). The increase in Si enhanced the tempering resistance of the steels and also improved considerably the hardness of the nitrided layers. The increase in Si produced thinner compound layers with better hardness quality and high abrasive wear resistance. XRD analysis detected a mixture of nitrides in the layers γ′-Fe4N, ε-Fe2–3N, CrN, MoN, and Si3N4 with their proportions varying with the nitriding conditions.


abrasive wear ion nitriding silicon ultrahigh-strength steel 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    T.V. Philip, Ultrahigh Strength Steels, Properties and Selection: Irons, Steels, and High-Performance Alloys, Vol 1, ASM Handbook, ASM International, 1990, p 424Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. Edenhofer, Physical and Metallurgical Aspects of Ionitriding: Part 1, Heat Treat. Met., Vol 1, 1974, p 23–28Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. O’Brien and D. Goodman, Plasma (Ion) Nitriding, Heat Treating, Vol 4, ASM Handbook, ASM International, 1991, p 420–424Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    C.K. Jones, S.W. Martín, and M. Hudis, “Ion Nitriding,” Proc. Conf. on Heat Treatment (London, U.K.), The Metals Society, 1973, p 71–77Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    W. Rembges, Fundamentals, Applications and Economical Considerations of Plasma Nitriding, Conference on Ion Nitriding (Cleveland, OH), ASM International, 1986, p 189–198Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    B. Edenhofer, Low Temperature Ion-Nitriding: Nitriding at Temperatures Below 500°C for Tools and Precision Machine Parts, Proc. Conf. on Heat Treatment 73 (London, U.K.), Vol 12–13, The Metals Society, 1973, p 7Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    O.T. Inal, K. Ozbaysal, E.S. Metin, and N.Y. Pehlinvanturk, A Review of Plasma Surface Modification Process, Parameters, and Microstructural Characterization, Proc. Second Int. Conf. on Ion Nitriding/Carburizing (Cincinnati, OH), ASM International, Sept 1989, p 57–66Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    K.H. Jack, Nitriding, Proc. Conf. on Heat Treatment 73 (London, U.K.), The Metals Society, 1973, p 39–50Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    T. Spalvis, Advances and Directions of Ion Nitriding/Carburizing, Proc. Second Int. Conf. on Ion Nitriding/Carburizing (Cincinnati, OH), Sept 1989, p 1–4Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    “Standard Specification for Castings, Steel and Alloy, Common Requirements for General Industrial Use,” A 781/A 781M-92, Annual Book of ASTM Standards, ASM International, p 421Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Japanese Industrial Standard JIS G0562, Method of Measuring Nitrided Case Depth for Iron and Steel, Surf. Eng., Vol 11 (No. 1), 1995, p 57–60Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Y. Hirotsu and S. Nagakura, Crystal Structure and Morphology of the Carbide Precipitaed from Martensite High Carbon Steel During the First Stage of Tempered, Acta Met., Vol 20, 1972, p 645–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    G. Krauss, Steels: Heat Treatment and Processing Principles, ASM International, 1990Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    K.H. Jack, The Effect of Substitutional Alloying Elements on the Behaviour Of Interstitial Solutes In Iron, Scand. J. Metall., Vol 1, 1972, p 195–202Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    B. Edenhofer, Physical and Metallurgical Aspects of Ionitriding: Part 2, Heat Treat. Met., Vol 2, 1974, p 59–67Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Y. Sun and T. Bell, Computer Prediction of Threshold Nitriding Potential Curves, Heat Treat. Met., Vol 2, 1997, p 43–49Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    E. Metin and O.T. Inal, Formation and Growth of Iron Nitrides During Ion-Nitriding, J. Mater. Sci., Vol 22, 1987, p 2783–2788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    T. Spalvins, Tribological and Microstructural Characteristics of Ion-Nitrided Steel, Proc. Int. Conf. on Metallurgical Coatings (San Diego, CA), ASC International, 1983, p 157–163Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    T. Spalvins, Frictional and Structural Characterization of Ion-Nitrited Low and High Chromium Steels, J. Vac. Sci. Technol., Vol A3 (No. 6), 1985, p 2329–2333ADSGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    D.H. Jack and K.H. Jack, Invited Review: Carbides and Nitrides in Steel, Mater. Sci. Eng., Vol 11, 1973, p 1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    M.B. Karamis, An Investigation of the Properties and Wear Behavior of Plasma-Nitrided Hot Working Steel (H13), Wear, Vol 150, 1991, p 331–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    B. Podgornik, J. Vizintin, and V. Leskovsek, Tribological Properties of Plasma and Pulse Plasma Nitrided AISI 4140 Steel, Surf. Coat. Technol., Vol 108–109, 1998, p 454–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    A.N. Klein, R. Oberacker, and F. Thummler, High Strength Si-Mn Alloyed Sintered Steels, Powder Metall. Int., Vol 17, 1987, p 13–16Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    A.M. Maliska, A.N. Klein, and A.R. Souza, Microestructural Characterization of Plasma Nitriding Surface of Sintered Steels Containing Si, Surf. Coat. Technol., Vol 70, 1995, p 175–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. Muñoz Riofano
    • 1
  • L. C. Casteletti
    • 1
  • P. A. P. Nascente
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Engenharia de Materiais, Aeronáutica e Automobilística, Escola de Engenharia de São CarlosUniversidade de São PauloSão Carlos, SPBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Engenharia de MateriaisUniversidade Federal de São CarlosSão Carlos, SPBrazil

Personalised recommendations