Using the Principles of Image Analysis in the Assessment of the Proportion of Retained Austenite in the Case Hardened Layers

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Abstract

Structures of carburized layers after the surface saturation process in gaseous, liquid or solid medium and after subsequent heat treatment (hardening and low-temperature tempering) consist mainly of high carbon plate martensite with a certain portion of retained austenite. The presence of retained austenite (RA) in carburized layers is mostly considered as undesirable because it decreases hardness of the hardened layer and furthermore, a spontaneous conversion to a ferritic-carbide mixture of a bainitic type, accompanied by a change of properties, dimensional instability and the local increase in internal stress with the possible formation of cracks, can occur. The proportion of retained austenite is, therefore, a significant characteristics of the quality of hardened layers. This work deals with the evaluation of the volume fraction of retained austenite in carburized layers using image analysis on metallographic images.

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Archives of Metallurgy and Materials

The Journal of Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science and Commitee on Metallurgy of Polish Academy of Sciences

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