Late research projects show that retained austenite, if stabilized by nitrogen, has a positive influence on the fatigue strength of work pieces. The combined diffusion profile of carbon and nitrogen applied in a carbonitriding process plays the major role, besides the process temperature. Yet today, only the carbon potential is somehow controlled and even this is not easy to achieve. This paper will present a new system able to measure and control both, the carbon potential and the nitrogen potential independently. The knowledge of the activities of nitrogen and carbon in iron and the effect of alloying elements on such activities as well as the solubilities offers an easy to use method to apply the potentials on real steels.

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