The effect of thermochemical treatment on the fatigue properties of alloy steels

  • Munir A. Majid

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The effect of thermochemical treatment namely carburising on the fatigue behaviour of one carbon and two alloy steels has been studied in rotating and unidirectional bending. The effect of carbon profile on the unidirect¬ional bending fatigue strength of 63SA14 was assessed, and it was found that single stage carburising with a surface carbon content of 0.8% has resulted in a higher fatigue strength than other types of carbon profiles. Residual stresses and other metallurgical variables arising from different carbon profiles, were also considered. The highest compressive stresses h~e resulted from boost-diffuse-carburising. On the other hand surface decarburisation was associated with tensile residual stresses and a reduced fatigue strength. Retained austenite was found to be detrimental in unidirectional bending fatigue; however its presence in carburised 83SAIS did not seem to influence the rotating bending fatigue strength. Carbide particles in globular and/or intergranular form were detrimental to compressive residual stresses; the unidirectional bending fatigue strength is markedly lowered. The highest fatigue strength was accomplished by vacuum carburising. The absence of internal oxidation was the key factor in the increased fatigue strength; the presence of uniformly distributed fine carbide particles did not upset the superior fatigue strength of vacuum carburised pieces.
The effect of mean stress on the fatigue strength of carburised 63SA14 was studied. Increasing the mean stress as would be expected resulted in a decreased fatigue strength. Carburisation showed its advantages at low mean stress, but at high mean stress it offers little advantage over the uncarburised hardened conditions.
Notch effect was also studied in unidirectional bending of carburised 080MlS. The general trend showed that the fatigue strength decreases with increasing the stress concentration factor. But different carburising conditions have different effect on notch sensitivity.
Date of Award1980
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorH.C. Child (Supervisor)


  • thermochemical treatment
  • fatigue properties
  • alloy steels

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