A physics-based software model is being developed to predict the nitriding and ferritic nitrocarburizing (FNC) performance of quenched and tempered steels with tempered martensitic microstructure. The microstructure of the nitrided and FNC steels is comprised of a white compound layer of nitrides (ε and γ’) and carbides below the surface with a hardened diffusion zone (i.e., case) that is rich in nitrogen and carbon. The composition of the compound layer is predicted using computational thermodynamics to develop alloy specific nitriding potential KN and carburizing potential KC phase diagrams. The thickness of the compound layer is predicted using parabolic kinetics. The diffusion in the tempered martensite case is modeled using diffusion with a reaction. Diffusion paths are also developed on these potential diagrams. These model predictions are compared with experimental results.

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