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Dry Sliding Wear of Active Screen Plasma Carburised Austenitic Stainless Steel


Low temperature diffusion treatments with nitrogen and carbon have been widely used to increase the tribological performance of austenitic stainless steels. These processes produce a layer of supersaturated austenite, usually called expanded austenite or S-phase, which exhibits good corrosion and wear resistance. The novel active screen technology is said to provide benefits over the conventional DC plasma technology. The improvements result from the reduction in the electric potential applied to the treated components, and the elimination of such defects and processing instabilities as edge effects, hollow cathode effects and arcing. In this study, AISI 316 coupon samples were plasma carburised in DC and active screen plasma furnaces. The respective layers of carbon expanded austenite were characterised and their tribological performance was studied and compared. Detailed post-test examinations included SEM observations of the wear tracks and of the wear debris, EDX mapping of the wear track, EBSD crystal orientation mapping of the cross sections of the wear tracks, and cross-sectional TEM. Based on the results of wear tests and post-test examinations, the wear mechanisms involved are discussed.

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Dr. S. Corujeira Gallo would like to acknowledge the financial contribution made by Roberto Rocca Education Program to the present project.

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Correspondence to S. Corujeira Gallo.

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Corujeira Gallo, S., Li, X. & Dong, H. Dry Sliding Wear of Active Screen Plasma Carburised Austenitic Stainless Steel. Tribol Lett 45, 153–160 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11249-011-9875-6

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  • Steel
  • Surface modification
  • S-phase
  • Unlubricated wear
  • Wear mechanisms
  • Metallurgical analysis