Nitriding Process and Nitriding Steels...

Nitriding Process and Nitriding Steels  According to DIN EN 10052:1994-01, nitriding is defined as the thermo-chemical treatment of a work piece in order to enrich the surface layer with nitrogen. Carbo-nitriding involves enriching the surface layer with nitrogen and carbon. The nitriding process, which was first developed in the early 1900s, continues to play an important role in many industrial applications. It often is used in the manufacture of aircraft, bearings, automotive components, textile machinery, and turbine generation systems. It remains the simplest of the case hardening techniques. The basic of the nitriding process is that it does not require a phase change from ferrite to austenite, nor does it require a further change from austenite to martensite. In other words, the steel remains in the ferrite phase (or cementite, depending on alloy composition) during the complete procedure. This means that the molecular structure of the ferrite (bcc) does not change its configuration or grow into the face-centered cubic (fcc) lattice characteristic of austenite, as occurs in more conventional methods such as carburizing. Also, since only free cooling takes place, rather than rapid cooling or quenching, no subsequent transformation from austenite to martensite occurs. Again, there is no molecular size change and, more importantly, no dimensional change, only slight growth due to the volumetric change of the steel surface caused by the nitrogen diffusion. What can (and does) produce distortion are the induced surface stresses being released by the heat of the process, causing movement in the form of twisting and bending. The purpose of nitriding is to enrich the surface layer of a work piece with nitrogen in order to increase the hardness in the surface. The process of nitriding takes advantage of the low solubility of nitrogen in the ferritic crystal structure...