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Inconsistent wear behaviour of cryotreated

tool steels: role of mode and mechanism


D. Das1, A. K. Dutta2 and K. K. Ray*3
This report aims to reveal the cause of wide variation in the reported degree of improvement in
wear resistance of cryotreated tool steels. Sliding wear tests at different normal loads have been
carried out on conventional and cryotreated AISI D2 steel specimens together with SEM
examinations and EDX microanalyses of the surfaces and subsurfaces of the worn specimens
and that of the generated debris. The obtained results reveal that when the modes and
mechanisms of wear are similar for both types of specimens, mild oxidative at lower load or
severe delaminative at higher load, the improvement in wear resistance is 1?62?2 times. At the
intermediate load, the modes and mechanisms are dissimilar, and the observed improvement is
as high as 53?2 times. The reported varied degree of improvement in wear resistance by
cryotreatment has been attributed to the operating test conditions that govern the modes and
mechanisms of wear.
Keywords: Cryogenic treatment, Wear resistance, Wear mode, Wear mechanism, AISI D2 steel, Microstructure

Introduction
Wear resistance of tool steels is one of the key governing
factors that determines the useful life of a tool and in
turn controls the productivity of the manufacturing
process. One of the approaches to achieve improved
wear resistance of tool steels is the use of deep cryogenic
treatment.110 Deep cryogenic treatment, often simply
referred to as cryotreatment, is applied in between
conventional hardening and tempering treatments
Unlike age old cold treatments (213193 K), cryotreatments are usually carried out between 148 K and 77 K
for a sufficiently long time (1272 h) with controlled
cooling and heating cycles.8,9 The most prevalent claim
regarding the benefit of cryotreatment of tool steels is
the increment in wear resistance,112 apart from the
enhancement of dimensional stability,13 hardness,3,5,7,8,12,14,15 fatigue resistance,14 toughness,16 bend
strength3 and reduction of residual stress.17 The
enhancement of the mechanical properties of tool steels
by cryotreatment has been attributed to the nearly
complete transformation of retained austenite to martensite,4,18 precipitation of ultrafine carbide particles5,6,19 or both.8,15,20
The improvements in wear resistance (IWR), typically
for AISI D2 steel, by cryotreatment reported by
different investigators48,11,16 are compiled in Table 1.
It is obvious from the data in Table 1 that the degree of
1

Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Bengal Engineering


and Science University, Shibpur, Howrah, India
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Bengal Engineering and Science
University, Shibpur, Howrah, India
3
Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Indian Institute of
Technology, Kharagpur, India
2

*Corresponding author, email kkmt@metal.iitkgp.ernet.in

2009 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining


Published by Maney on behalf of the Institute
Received 6 July 2008; accepted 8 August 2008
DOI 10.1179/174328408X374685

IWR varies widely from a few per cent to a few hundred


per cent. The inconsistency in the reported values of
IWR, even for the same material, and the lack of
scientific explanation behind it are creating mistrust
regarding the benefit of cryotreatment for tool steels and
hindering its commercial exploitation. It is well established that the wear rate of a material can vary widely
when the mode of wear changes from mild to severe with
the associated changes in the wear mechanism due to the
changes in the magnitude of normal load, sliding
distance and sliding velocity.21,22 A comparative study
of the wear rates of the cryotreated and conventionally
treated specimens with identification of the operative
mode and mechanism of wear through analyses of the
characteristics of worn surfaces, subsurfaces and wear
debris is thus considered essential for resolving the issue
of the reported inconsistent improvements in wear
resistance of tool steels by cryotreatment. This is the
inherent motivation of this investigation. An attempt
has also been made to understand the wear behaviour in
relation to the concerned microstructures. The material
selected for this investigation is AISI D2 steel.

Experimental procedures
The selected steel for this investigation is a commercial
AISI D2 tool steel containing Fe1?49C0?29Mn
0?42Si11?38Cr0?80Mo0?68V0?028S0?029P (wt.-%).
Sample blanks of the steel were first subjected to
conventional (QT) and cryogenic treatment (QCT) in
separate batches; QT consisted of hardening (Q) and
single tempering (T), whereas QCT incorporated an
additional step of controlled deep cryogenic (C) processing in between hardening and tempering. The details
of the hardening and tempering treatments have
been reported earlier.8 The cryogenic processing was

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Wear behaviour in cryotreated tool steels

a QT; b QCT
1 Typical SEM micrographs of differently treated specimens. PC, primary carbide particles; LSC, large secondary carbide particles; SSC, small secondary carbide
particles

performed at 77 K for 12 h with controlled cooling and


heating rate (<45 K h1) in a cryogenic processor using
liquid nitrogen as the cooling medium.
Microstructural examinations have been carried out
using optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM,
JSM-5510, Jeol, Tokyo, Japan) on polished and picral
etched specimens. The carbide particles in the developed
microstructures have been classified as primary carbides
(PCs; size .5 mm) and secondary carbides (SCs; size

(5 mm). The SCs have been further subclassified as


large secondary carbides (LSCs; 1 mm,size(5 mm) and
small secondary carbides (SSCs; 0?1(size,1 mm). The
volume fraction, size, population density and interparticle spacing of the carbide particles have been assessed
by image analyses using Leica QMetals software on
digitally acquired SEM micrographs considering at least
1000 particles following standard practices.23 The
measurement of retained austenite (cR) content in the
developed microstructures have been done by X-ray
diffraction (XRD) analyses following ASTM standard
E975-0024 with the help of a Philips PW 1830 X-ray
diffractometer (Amsterdam, Netherlands) using Mo Ka
radiation. The nature of the carbide particles has been
examined by XRD analyses on electrolytically extracted
carbide particles. The extraction of the carbide particles
has been made following the report of Nykiel and
Hryniewicz.25 The phases in the extracted carbide
particles and that in the bulk specimens have been
identified from the XRD profiles with the help of
Philips XPert software (Philips Analytical, Amsterdam,
Netherlands). The macro- and microhardness values of
the specimens have been measured using a Vickers
indenter at 60 kgf and 50 gf loads, respectively.
Sliding wear tests have been carried out on a
computerised pin on disc wear testing machine
(DUCOM: TR 20) following the ASTM standard
G99-05.26 Cylindrical specimens of 4 mm diameter and
30 mm length were used as static pins; the rotating
counterface comprised a WC-coated En-35 steel disc
(surface hardness <17?2 GPa) with roughness value of
Ra,0?5 mm. The faces of the pin specimens were finely
polished by 1 mm diamond paste, cleaned in acetone in
an ultrasonic cleaner and dried prior to wear tests. The
wear tests have been carried out at three different
normal loads: 29?43 N (3 kgf), 58?86 N (6 kgf) and
117?72 N (12 kgf) at a constant linear sliding velocity of
2 m s1 in dry condition at the room temperature of
y300 K and 60% relative humidity. The average wear
rates were measured by the volume loss method from the
recorded cumulative height loss of the specimens with
respect to sliding distance in the steady-state wear regime
from the results of at least three tests under identical
conditions. The worn out surfaces and subsurfaces of

Table 1 Reported improvement in wear resistance of AISI D2 steel by deep cryogenic treatment
Wear test conditions
Description of
Sl no. setup used
1
2
3
4
5
6
7

Improvement in Condition Normal Sliding velocity


wear resistance* (dry/wet) load (N) (m s1)
Investigators

Counter body

Block on wheel Alumina grinding wheel


Block on disc Slurry (75%Al2O325%
butanediol)
Block on wheel Hardened D2
steel wheel
Block on disc Hardened X210Cr12
steel disc
Pin on disc
WC coated En-35 steel
disc
Pin on disc
Al2O3 pin
Block on disc Disc of diamond pad

817
108{

Dry
Wet

431
NA

0.41
NA

Barron4
Collins and Dormer5

110600{

Dry

21

0.53.62

Meng et al.6

134

Dry

150

0.21

Pellizzari and Molinari7

1602290

Dry

4978

1.50

Das et al.8

180{
138{

Dry
NA

1.4
NA

0.074
NA

Bourne et al.11
Rhyim et al.16

*Ratio of wear rates of conventionally treated to cryotreated specimens as the index of improvement in wear resistance following the
report of Barron.4
{
Approximate values obtained from the graphs.
NA, information not available.

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a bulk specimens; b electrochemically extracted carbide


particles
2 XRD proles of QT and QCT specimens

the specimens and the generated wear debris have been


examined using SEM coupled with energy dispersive Xray (EDX) microanalyses.

Wear behaviour in cryotreated tool steels

SSCs. The amount and the number of both LSCs and


SSCs are significantly higher in the QCT specimen than
that in the QT specimen (Fig. 1). The PCs and SCs have
been identified as M7C3 and M23C6 (M5Cr, Fe, Mo and
V) respectively by the XRD (Fig. 2) and EDX analyses
of electrolytically extracted carbide particles from both
QT and QCT specimens. These results are in agreement
with the earlier reports.27
The XRD profiles of bulk specimens exhibit the
characteristics diffraction peaks of retained austenite
(cR) in the QT sample unlike that in the QCT sample as
shown in Fig. 2. The presence of cR has also been
revealed in the microstructure of the QT specimens at
higher magnifications.8 The estimated amounts of the
different phases by XRD technique and/or image
analyses for both the QT and QCT specimens are
summarised in Table 2. The cR content is found to be
9?80?7 vol.-% in the QT specimen compared with the
negligible amount in the QCT specimen. It can be
concluded from these results that cryogenic processing
immediately after hardening does not alter the nature of
carbides, but almost completely removes the soft cR with
a consequent increase in the amount of hard phases, like
SCs and tempered martensite (Table 2).
The results in Table 2 related to the characteristics of
SSCs and LSCs for both QT and QCT specimens infer
that cryotreatment refines SCs, increases their amount
and population density and decreases their mean
interparticle spacing. The possible reasons for the
refinement of SCs by cryotreatment have been postulated earlier by Das et al.8 and Huang et al.20 In brief,
transformation of austenite to martensite at low
temperatures with associated controlled cooling of the
specimens during cryotreatment induces a high density
of crystal defects such as dislocations and twins, and
thus increases lattice distortion and thermodynamic
instability of martensite. These phenomena result into
the segregation of carbon atoms to nearby defects as
clusters that act as nucleating sites for the formation of
carbide on subsequent tempering.
The results in Table 2 also indicate that cryotreatment
increases both macrohardness (6?6%) and microhardness (10?9%) of D2 steel compared with those of the
conventionally treated specimens. These observations
are in agreement with some earlier reports.3,7,8,14,15 The
lower macrohardness of QT specimens is natural
because of its higher content of soft cR and lower
content of hard SCs (Table 2). The microhardness
values are influenced by the amount and the distribution
of the finer SC particles. The precipitation of a higher
amount of finer SCs and the formation of a larger
amount of tempered martensite in the QCT specimen
result in its higher microhardness than that of QT
specimens.

Estimation of wear rate

Results
Microstructure and hardness
Figure 1 depicts typical representative SEM micrographs of the QT and QCT specimens. The microstructures of these specimens exhibit a non-uniform
distribution of large elongated dendritic-type PCs and
uniform distribution of nearly spherical SCs on the
tempered martensitic matrix. In this study, the SCs have
been classified into two different size groups LSCs and

Wear rate (WR) is estimated as wear volume loss (m3)


per unit sliding distance (m).28 The estimated values of
WR for all the specimens tested under different normal
loads (FN) are summarised in Table 3. The results in
Table 3 suggest that WR of QT specimens is always
higher than that for QCT specimens and this is in
agreement with the earlier reports.2,5,6,811
A new parameter b, defined here as the ratio of WR of
the QT specimen to WR of the QCT specimen at a given
FN, has been considered to quantify the degree of

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Wear behaviour in cryotreated tool steels

Table 2 Summary of microstructural and hardness values of QT and QCT specimens


Specimens
Microstructural features
and hardness
Amount (vol.-%)

Retained austenite
PCs
SCs (5SSCszLSCs)
Tempered martensite

Amount (vol.-%)

SSCs
LSCs
SSCs
LSCs
SSCs
LSCs
SSCs
LSCs

Mean diameter (mm)


Population density (6103, nos. mm2)
Mean interparticle spacing (mm)
Macrohardness, Hv60 (GPa)
Microhardness, Hv0.05 (GPa)

QT

QCT

9.800.7
6.990.3
6.570.3
76.64
3.520.2
3.050.7
0.490.01
2.240.05
16112
6.40.5
13.5
71.2
7.440.04
9.030.06

Negligible
6.840.5
9.650.3
83.51
5.470.2
4.180.4
0.360.01
1.640.03
47522
15.60.4
6.1
37.6
7.930.04
10.010.07

PCs, primary carbides; SCs, secondary carbides; SSCs, small secondary carbides; LSCs, large secondary carbides.

improvement in wear resistance by cryotreatment. The


estimated magnitudes of b under different test conditions have also been compiled in Table 3 and an
examination of these values shows that the magnitude
of b is strongly dependent on the wear test conditions
and varies over a wide range. This dependence of the
magnitude of b on the test conditions is the cause of the
reported inconsistency in the enhancement of wear
resistance of tool steels by cryotreatment as illustrated
in Table 1.

Examinations of worn surface and wear debris


The morphology and the characteristics of the worn
surfaces and subsurfaces and that of the generated

debris of all the specimens have been examined under


SEM with associated EDX microanalyses in order to
identify the operative wear mechanisms. Typical micrographs and representative EDX profiles for different FN
are depicted in Figs. 35. Figure 3 illustrates compacted
oxide layers, groove marks, cracking and pull-out of
PCs for both QT and QCT specimens, whereas Fig. 5
shows plastic deformation of the surface and subsurface
with associated occasional subsurface cracking. The
wear debris of both the QT and the QCT specimens
show oxide granules (Fig. 3) and large metallic platelets
(Fig. 5). However, Fig. 4 shows different features of
the worn surfaces and the wear debris of QT and
QCT specimens. The salient features in Figs. 35 are

Table 3 Estimated wear parameters, features of worn surfaces and wear debris, and the proposed modes and
mechanisms of wear
Normal load (N)
29.43
Parameters/
features
29

58.86

QT
3

WR (610 , m m )
b (5WRQT/WRQCT)
K
Worn surfaces

QCT

117.72

QT

1.04610
0.48610
2.16
1.2961025
2.6361025
Compacted oxide layer
24

QCT

4.96610
53.21
6.2761023
Plastic
deformation of
surface and
subsurface
Subsurface
cracking

24

22

Groove marks
Cracking and putt out of PCs
Wear debris

Oxide granules

Metallic
platelets
Maximum
length
<300 mm
Deformation
induced
delamination
wear

Maximum length

Mechanism of wear

Mode of wear
Comparison of mode
and mechanism of
wear

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<20 mm
<13 mm
Oxidative wear coupled
with cracking and pull out
of PCs

Mild wear
Similar

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Dissimilar

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QT

9.32610

24

1.2661024
Compacted
oxide layer

Groove
marks
Cracking and
pull out of PCs
Oxide
granules
Maximum
length
<17 mm
Oxidative
wear coupled
with cracking
and pull out
of PCs
Mild wear

QCT

0.49
0.31
1.58
3.1061022
2.0961022
Heavy surface and subsurface
plastic deformation

Subsurface cracking
Extrusion of material
Large metallic platelets
Maximum length
<1500 mm
<500 mm
Deformation induced
delamination wear

Severe wear
Similar

Severe wear

Das et al.

Wear behaviour in cryotreated tool steels

a worn surface of QT; b worn surface of QCT; c typical micrograph of the region marked as 1 in a and b; d typical
micrograph of the region marked as 2 in a and b; e wear debris of QT; f wear debris of QCT
3 Typical backscatter electron (a, b and c) and secondary electron (d) SEM micrographs of worn surfaces; and secondary electron (e and f) SEM micrographs of wear debris tested at FN529?43 N

summarised in Table 3 and will be discussed in the


following section to bring forth the operative modes and
mechanisms in these specimens.

Discussion
Mode and mechanism of wear
One of the simple ways to ascertain the operative mode
of wear is through the estimation of the specific wear
coefficient K,22,28,29 which is expressed as
K~WR

HV
FN

(1)

where WR in m3 m1, FN in N and Hv (Vickers


hardness value) in N m2. The values of K for both

QT and QCT specimens at different FN values have been


calculated and presented in Table 3. The magnitudes of
K for both QT and QCT specimens are of the same
order at FN529?43 N; a similar observation is also made
when the magnitude of K is compared at FN5117?72 N.
These observations imply that the operative modes of
wear at these loads are similar for both types of
specimens.22
The values of K at FN5117?72 N are, however, three
orders of magnitude higher than those at FN529?43 N.
The aforementioned comparison of the K values
suggests that the modes of wear for both QT and QCT
specimens are mild and severe at lower and higher FN,
respectively.22,28,29 At FN558?86 N, the value of K for
the QT specimen is higher by over an order of magnitude

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a worn surface of QT; b worn surface of QCT; c wear debris QT, d wear debris of QCT, inset at higher magnification of
same; e EDX profile of the area marked as 1 in wear debris of QT in c; f EDX profile of the area marked as 2 in wear
debris of QCT in d
4 Typical secondary electron SEM micrographs and EDX proles of worn surfaces and wear debris tested at
FN558?86 N

than that for the QCT specimen (Table 3); so the mode of
wear is different for QT and QCT specimens at this
intermediate load.28,29 The mode of wear changes from
mild to severe at a characteristic FN value, popularly
termed the T1 transition, in the dry sliding wear of steel at
a constant sliding velocity.21,22 The results in Table 3
suggest that the FN529?43 and 117?72 N are lower and
higher than the characteristics T1 transition values for
both QT and QCT specimens, whereas FN558?86 N is
higher than the T1 transition for the QT specimen, but
lower than that for the QCT specimen.
At FN529?43 N, the worn surfaces of both QT
(Fig. 3a) and QCT (Fig. 3b) specimens are almost

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covered by a compact oxide layer (Fig. 3d). A representative micrograph (Fig. 3c) of the oxide depleted
regions of the worn surfaces (Figs. 3a and 3b) reveals the
presence of groove marks, cracking and pull out of PCs.
The wear debris of these QT and QCT specimens in
Figs. 3e and 3f exhibit fine granular oxide particles.
These observations suggest that the mechanism of wear
at FN529?43 N for both QT and QCT specimens is
predominantly oxidative coupled with cracking and pull
out of PCs and are similar in nature.30 However, the
fraction of area of worn surface covered by the compact
oxide layer is higher (Fig. 3) and the generated debris is
finer (Table 3) for the QCT specimens than that for the

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Wear behaviour in cryotreated tool steels

a macrograph of worn surface of QT; b macrograph of worn surface of QCT; c micrograph of worn surface of QT, d
micrograph of worn surface of QCT; e wear debris of QT; f wear debris of QCT
5 Typical secondary electron SEM macro- and micrographs of worn surface, and micrographs of wear debris tested at
FN5117?72 N

QT specimens. These observations are in accordance


with the estimated lower value of WR of the QCT than
that of the QT specimens.
At FN558?86 N, the morphology of the worn surfaces
and the nature of the generated debris are distinctly
different for the QT and the QCT specimens (Fig. 4).
The worn surface of the QCT specimen (Fig. 4b)
exhibits oxide, whereas that for QT specimen (Fig. 4a)
is metallic in nature with the presence of fracture ridges,
deformation lips and subsurface cracking. Moreover,
the generated debris for the QCT specimens (Fig. 4d) is
fine granular particles, whereas those for the QT
specimen (Fig. 4c) are large platelets. The EDX microanalyses identify the debris as oxides (Fig. 4f) and
metallic (Fig. 4e) for the QCT and the QT specimens

respectively. These observations suggest that the operative wear mechanisms are different for the QT and the
QCT specimens at FN558?86 N. These are oxidative30
wear for the QCT specimens and delaminative31 wear
for the QT specimens. Under this test condition, the WR
and K for the QT specimen compared with the QCT
specimen is higher by an order of magnitude and the
estimated value of b is 53?2 times.
Examinations of the morphology of the worn surfaces
and the generated debris of both QT and QCT specimens at FN5117?72 N reveal: (i) extrusion of subsurfaces in the sliding direction (Figs. 5a and b), (ii) a rough
metallic nature (Figs. 5c and d) and (iii) large metallic
platelets (Figs. 5e and f). These observations indicate
that the operative wear mechanism for both QT and

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Wear behaviour in cryotreated tool steels

values by cryotreatment has been reported for A2 steel


by Zurecki12 and 4340 steel by Zhirafar et al.14 Molinari
et al.3 have suggested a marginal increase in fracture
toughness with an attendant reduction in impact
toughness for M2 and H13 steels when cryogenic
processing was applied after hardening and double
tempering. In contrast, a considerable improvement in
impact toughness has been reported for T1 and M2 steel
by Yun et al.15 Recently, Rhyim et al.16 have reported
improvement in impact toughness for D2 steel by
cryotreatment.
With reference to the microstructural states (Figs. 2
and 3), a reduction in cR and an increased amount of
finer carbide precipitates have been attributed to reduce
the fracture toughness of tool/die steels under cryotreated conditions by Ogel and Tekin,32 Leskovsek
et al.,10 Zurecki12 and Zhirafar et al.14 In contrast,
reduction in residual stress17 by cryotreatment should
improve fracture toughness. The observed larger metallic platelets in the wear debris of the QT specimen
compared with the QCT specimen (Fig. 5e and f) and
the prominent presence of subsurface cracks beneath the
worn surface of the QT specimen unlike that in the QCT
specimen (Fig. 6a and b) could be indicative of the fact
that fracture toughness of D2 steel in the cryotreated
condition is similar in magnitude, if not greater, to that
of the conventionally treated ones. Attempts are being
directed to understand the fracture behaviour of D2
steel under cryotreated and conventionally treated
conditions, and the results will constitute the content
for some future reports.
a QT; b QCT
6 Typical back scatter SEM micrographs of subsurfaces
of worn specimens tested at FN558?86 N

QCT specimens at FN5117?72 N is deformation


induced delaminative wear.31 However, the size of
metallic debris, the extent of worn surface damage and
the extrusion of subsurfaces are found to be higher for
the QT specimen than the QCT specimen. These
observations are in good agreement with the estimated
values of WR and K (Table 3).
In general, the modes and the mechanisms of wear for
the investigated specimens are functions of the applied
load at constant sliding velocity. The degree of
improvement in wear resistance (b) by cryotreatment is
thus strongly dependent on the experimental conditions
that determine whether the operative mode and mechanism of wear for the QT and the QCT specimens would be
similar or dissimilar.
The mechanisms associated with wear of QT and
QCT specimens include several physical phenomena like
subsurface cracking, cracking and pull out of PCs,
fracture ridges, and deformation lips depending on the
applied load of wear tests (Figs. 36). All these
phenomena could be linked with the inherent resistance
to cracking or fracture toughness of these materials in
different heat-treated conditions. Reported literature
related to the role of cryotreatment on the resistance to
cracking of tool/die steels is limited and contradictory in
nature. For example, Leskovsek et al.10 have reported
that cryotreatment reduces the fracture toughness of M2
steel due to the elimination of cR and refinement of
carbide particles. Reduction in the impact toughness

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Factors responsible for the inconsistent


enhancement of wear of cryotreated steels
The wear behaviour of materials is a complex function
of the test conditions apart from the mechanical
properties of the test specimen and the counterbody.17
In the preceding section, the influence of the applied
loads at constant sliding velocity on the wear behaviour
of QT and QCT specimens has been discussed in detail
to illustrate the variation in the operative modes and
mechanisms of wear for the selected steel. Although, the
improvement in wear resistance by cryotreatment has
been reported by several authors112 (Table 1), careful
and systematic diagnosis of the modes and mechanisms
of wear under different test conditions have not been
addressed by most of the earlier workers. This has led to
the apparent inconsistency about the benefit of cryotreatment in relation to enhancement of wear resistance.
The relative wear rates of the QT and QCT specimens
are governed by their microstructural conditions. The QT
specimens containing higher amounts of cR and lower
amounts of SCs have exhibited higher wear rates under
identical conditions of testing as expected;22 the hardness
of the QT specimens are also lower than that of QCT
specimens, leading to their lower wear resistance.
Additional supportive evidence for a higher wear rate
for the QT specimen could be generated by subsurface
examinations as illustrated in Fig. 6. Figure 6 indicates
that (a) the thickness of the plastically deformed layer in
the QT specimen is significantly higher than that in the
QCT specimen and (b) the subsurface cracks in the
deformed layer and cracking of PCs exists in the QT but
not in the QCT specimens. Thus, the role of cryotreatment
in enhancing wear resistance of AISI D2 steel is firmly

Das et al.

established from the overall evidence from wear rates,


surface features, subsurface deformation and cracking,
and morphology and nature of wear debris. However, all
this evidence is a function of the applied test conditions,
which need to be taken into account when judging the
benefit of deep cryogenic processing with respect to the
improvement of wear resistance of tool steels.

Conclusions
The experimental results and their pertinent analyses
result in the following major conclusions:
1. Incorporation of deep cryogenic processing in
between conventional hardening and tempering treatments (QCT) improves the wear resistance of D2 steel
compared with that of conventionally treated (QT)
specimens. However, the degree of improvement in wear
resistance (b) by cryotreatment is strongly dependent on
the applied load, which determines whether the operative mode and mechanism of wear for both QT and QCT
specimens would be similar or dissimilar.
2. At the sliding velocity of 2 m s1, the operative
modes and mechanisms of wear for both the QT and
QCT specimens are mild and oxidative at normal loads
(FN) of 29?43 N, whereas at FN5117?72 N these are
severe and delaminative. The values of b at these test
conditions are 2?2 and 1?6 times, respectively. When the
wear tests have been carried out at FN558?86 N, QCT
specimens exhibited mild and oxidative wear in contrast
to severe and delaminative wear illustrated by the QT
specimens; the corresponding value of b is 53?2 times.
3. Correlation of wear resistance with the corresponding microstructures indicates that the improvement in
wear resistance by cryotreatment is due to the nearly
complete removal of soft retained austenite with a
concurrent increase in the amount of hard secondary
carbides and tough tempered martensite.

Acknowledgement
The financial assistance received from the University
Grants Commission, Government of India [Grant no. F.
No. 31-48/2005(SR)] to carry out a part of this research
is gratefully acknowledged.

References
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