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      The role of Argon in the AISI 420 Stainless-Steel Low-Temperature Plasma Nitriding

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          Abstract

          AISI 420 steel samples were subjected to three heat treatment conditions: annealed, hardened, and tempered at 400°C, followed by low-temperature nitriding using N2, H2, and varying Ar proportions in a pulsed DC glow discharge. The study aimed to investigate the impact of varying Ar content (10–50 vol.%) on glow discharge characteristics and surface properties of nitrided samples, using an 80% N2 + 20% H2 base gas mixture. The samples underwent characterization including optical microscopy, X-ray diffractometry, microhardness, and roughness measurements. Plasma characterization was conducted using optical emission spectroscopy. The results indicated that higher Ar concentrations led to increased thickness of the nitrided layer (up to 67%), as well as hardness (up to 14%) and surface roughness (up to 50%). These improvements stemmed from increased Ar-based species bombardment on the surface, enhancing the cleaning effect of surface oxides. This facilitated nitrogen adsorption onto the steel surface, increasing the atomic nitrogen concentration in the outermost layer of the steel. The increased nitrogen concentration facilitated diffusion, resulting in significant physical-chemical reactions at the surface-plasma interface. These reactions, including sputtering, molecule dissociation, and recombination, led to enhanced high-diffusivity pathways within the martensitic microstructures of both the as-hardened and 400°C-tempered samples.

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          Most cited references70

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          Glow discharge processes.

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            Plasma surface engineering of low alloy steel

            Y. Sun, T. Bell (1991)
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              Characteristics of martensitic stainless steel nitrided in a low-pressure RF plasma

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                mr
                Materials Research
                Mat. Res.
                ABM, ABC, ABPol (São Carlos, , Brazil )
                1516-1439
                1980-5373
                2024
                : 27
                : e20230571
                Affiliations
                [04] Curitiba Paraná orgnameUniversidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná orgdiv1Departamento Acadêmico de Mecânica Brazil
                [03] Florianópolis Santa Catarina orgnameUniversidade Federal de Santa Catarina orgdiv1Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica Brazil
                [01] Santa Maria Rio Grande do Sul orgnameUniversidade Federal de Santa Maria orgdiv1Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica Brazil
                [02] Curitiba Paraná orgnameUniversidade Federal do Paraná orgdiv1Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica orgdiv2Grupo de Tecnologia de Fabricação Assistida por Plasma e Metalurgia do Pó Brazil
                Article
                S1516-14392024000100244 S1516-1439(24)02700000244
                10.1590/1980-5373-mr-2023-0571
                bf1526f2-a3f4-42ad-a89b-bb15413805af

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                History
                : 24 December 2023
                : 24 April 2024
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 71, Pages: 0
                Product

                SciELO Brazil

                Categories
                Articles

                optical emission spectroscopy,glow discharge (plasma) diagnostics,argon in nitriding gas mixtures,low-temperature pulsed DC plasma nitriding,AISI 420 stainless steel

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