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Short thermal cycle treatment with laser of Vanadium microalloyed steel


Improvement of crankshaft fatigue properties can be approached by altering its mechanical properties in the surface, such as laser surface treatment. Laser beam treatment offers efficient and precise surface hardening processing with possibility of reducing the production cost compared to the conventional hardening techniques. However, its characteristic of having short thermal cycle can be a challenge for the development of laser surface hardening techniques, such as inadequacy of literatures in phase transformation and resulting mechanical properties under rapid heating and cooling rate. Therefore, this work investigated the impact of short thermal cycles induced by the laser beam on the resulting microstructure and hardness properties in the surface of 38MnSiVS5 and 44MnSiVS6 microalloyed steels. Temperature cycles during the process were recorded and examined with the resulting microstructure along with microhardness values. 44MnSiVS6 microalloyed steel, which contains ca. double the amount of vanadium compared to 38MnSiVS5 steel, produces finer ferrite grains in the treated area for all investigated short thermal cycles. This fine-grained microstructure leads to steady hardness distributions in the treated area. The short thermal cycle was assumed to be unable to dissolve the vanadium precipitates that reside in the ferrite grains, which then initiate precipitation hardening