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This article describes the microstructure, properties, and performance of carburized steels, and elucidates the microstructural gradients associated with carbon and hardness gradients. It provides information on case depth measurement, the factors affecting case depth, and the formation and causes of microcracks. The article discusses the effects of alloying elements on hardenability, the effects of excessive retained austenite and massive carbides on fatigue resistance, the effects of residual stresses and internal oxidation on fatigue performance of carburized steels. In addition, the causes of intergranular fracture at austenite grain boundaries and their prevention methods are explored. The article also describes the major mechanisms of bending fatigue crack initiation in carburized steels.

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