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Plasma (ion) nitriding is a method of surface hardening using glow-discharge technology to introduce nascent (elemental) nitrogen to the surface of a metal part for subsequent diffusion into the material. This article describes the procedures and applications of plasma nitriding methods of steel. These methods include direct-current plasma nitriding, pulsed-current plasma nitriding, and active-screen plasma nitriding. The article reviews cold-walled and hot-walled furnaces used for plasma nitriding. It provides information on the importance of controlling three process parameters: atmosphere, pressure, and part temperature. The article includes a discussion on the influence of nitrogen concentration on case structure formation on nitrided steel, and explains the significance of microstructure, hardness, and fatigue strength on nitrided case. It also discusses processing, laboratory studies, and applications of nitrocarburizing of steel.

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