Carburizing

Carburizing is the addition of carbon to the surface of low-carbon steels at temperatures generally between 850 and 950°C (1560 and 1740°F), at which austenite, with its high solubility for carbon, is the stable crystal structure. Hardening is accomplished when the high-carbon surface layer is quenched to form martensite so that a high-carbon martensitic case with good wear and fatigue resistance is superimposed on a tough, low-carbon steel core.


Case hardness of carburized steels is primarily a function of carbon content. When the carbon content of the steel exceeds about 0.50% additional carbon has no effect on hardness but does enhance hardenability. Carbon in excess of 0.50% may not be dissolved, which would thus require temperatures high enough to ensure carbon-austenite solid solution.

 

Case depth of carburized steel is a function of carburizing time and the available carbon potential at the surface. When prolonged carburizing times are used for deep case depths, a high carbon potential produces a high surface-carbon content, which may thus result in excessive retained austenite or free carbides. These two microstructural elements both have adverse effects on the distribution of residual stress in the case-hardened part. Consequently, a high carbon potential may be suitable for short carburizing times but not for prolonged carburizing.

 

 

Advantages: 

• A controlled process because of adjustable carbon potential
• Short process time 
• Part geometry, size and process depth does not affect application variety
• Non toxic process.