Steel Heat Treating Fundamentals and Processes
Nitriding and Nitrocarburizing of Steels
The nitriding process typically involves the introduction of nitrogen into the surface-adjacent zone of a component, usually at a temperature between 500 and 580 deg C. This article provides an overview of the essential aspects of the thermodynamics and kinetics of nitriding and nitrocarburizing of iron-base materials with gaseous processes. It describes nitriding potentials and the Lehrer diagram, carburizing potentials, controlled nitriding and nitrocarburizing, and the microstructural evolution of the compound layer and the diffusion zone.
This article summarizes the terminology for gas reactions, and discusses low-temperature nitriding and nitrocarburizing of stainless steels. It describes the various nitriding processes, namely, high- and low-pressure nitriding, oxynitriding, sulfonitriding, oxysulfonitriding, ferritic nitrocarburizing and austenitic nitrocarburizing. The article includes a discussion on the difficulties in specimen cleaning, importance of furnace purge, uses of pre and post oxidation, depassivation, or activation, and requirements for perfect nucleation in nitriding process. In nitriding, the successful atmosphere control depends on various potentials. The article summarizes the methods of measuring potentials in nitriding and nitrocarburizing, provides useful information on the furnaces used, and the safety precautions to be followed in the nitriding process. It also describes the sample preparation procedures and testing methods to ensure the quality of the sample.
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