Low pressure carbonitriding (LPCN) has the potential to improve the impact and fatigue strength of steel components through the enrichment of nitrogen and the effect of carburizing at higher temperatures. The work described in this paper investigates the influence of boron on the LPCN response of 20MnCr5 steel and the effect of niobium on that of 8620. LPCN treatments were developed to achieve a surface hardness of ~700 HV and case depth of 0.65-0.75 mm in four alloys: 20MnCr5, 20MnCr5 + B, 8620, and 8620 + Nb. The hardness and case microstructure of treated and quenched test samples are correlated with bending fatigue measured in Brugger fatigue specimens, which simulate the root of a gear tooth.

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