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Nb–Cr complex carbide coatings on AISI D2 steel produced by the TRD process


Nb–Cr complex carbide coatings were produced onto AISI D2 steel by the thermo-reactive diffusion process to improve the surface hardness and corrosion resistance of this tool steel. The carbide coating treatment was performed using molten borax added with ferroniobium, ferrochrome and aluminum at temperatures of 1,223, 1,293 and 1,363 K during 2, 3, 4 and 5 h. The coating layers were characterized by optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy, X-ray diffraction, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. The coating growth rates were evaluated, and a model of the layer thickness as a function of the treatment time and temperature was established. The hardness of the coating was measured by nanoindentation, and its resistance to corrosion was evaluated with electrochemical tests of potentiodynamic polarization. The produced carbide layers presented a homogeneous thickness as well as an improved hardness and corrosion resistance as compared to the uncoated steel.

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x :

Carbide layer thickness, cm

D :

Diffusion coefficient, cm2/s

t :

Processing time, s

R :

Gas constant, J/(mol K)

Q :

Activation energy, kJ/mol

T :

Absolute temperature, K


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The present work was supported by COLCIENCIAS project No. 338 of 2011. We are also very grateful to the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and to CSM Instruments.

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Correspondence to Fabio Enrique Castillejo.

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Technical Editor: Alexandre Abrão.

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Castillejo, F.E., Olaya, J.J. & Arroyo-Osorio, J.M. Nb–Cr complex carbide coatings on AISI D2 steel produced by the TRD process. J Braz. Soc. Mech. Sci. Eng. 37, 87–92 (2015).

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  • Thermo-reactive diffusion coatings
  • Nb–Cr complex carbides
  • Corrosion
  • Hardness