Since plasma jets, which have been used as heat sources of thermal plasma spraying process, expand adiabatically under a low pressure environment, the plasma temperatures drastically fell down to 2000K at the nozzle out let at 30Pa chamber pressure. However, the plasma jets still had enough reactivity to form hard nitride layer on the surface of the titanium samples by only a few minutes treatment. In this study, in order to obtain useful information for the practical applications of this plasma as low temperature and high rate surface modification processes, nitriding of nitriding steel and carbon steel using supersonic expanding hydrogen/ nitrogen mixture plasma jets were carried out. Consequently, though surface hardening was occurred slightly in the case of carbon steel, surface hardening was obviously promoted in the case of nitriding steel. In both cases, surface hardening was promoted with increasing hydrogen flow rate and thermal damages of the samples due to heat transfer from plasma jets weren't observed. Besides, according to the results of wear testing, wear mass loss of nitrided samples were much lower than that of non-nitrided samples. From these results, this process was found to have a high potential even in the case of surface modification of steel materials.

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