Novel surface modification of steel using high-density infrared heating
High-density infrared heating is a surface heating technique capable of producing wear-resistant coatings over a considerably larger processing area than currently available techniques (e.g. lasers). High-density infrared heating from a plasma arc-lamp is typically used for thermal annealing of silicon wafers, but this project expands the use of the plasma arc-lamp to produce carbon-enriched wear-resistant coatings on steel substrates. The focus of this study was to establish plasma arc-lamp processing parameters for the production of such coatings on a 1018 steel. The phase transformations involved were found to be in accordance with what occur in a fast-cooled hypoeutectic Fe-C system. The resulting structures contained a significant amount of Fe 3C near the surface present as discrete plates and with the ledeburite (i.e., eutectic microconstituent). A large fraction of carbide and the fine scale of the structures resulted in high hardnesses, reaching 750 HV 0.1 and 980 HV 0.1 for the graphite-only and Fe-Mo-C surface-modified regions, respectively. The high hardness and carbide fraction resulted in a significant improvement in two-body sliding wear-resistance over a standard carburized-and-hardened microstructure.