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Author's Accepted Manuscript

Effect of cutting conditions on wear performance of cryogenically treated tungsten carbide inserts in dry turning of stainless steel
Nursel Altan zbek, Adem iek, Mahmut
Glesin, Onur zbek

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PII:
S0301-679X(15)00366-7
DOI:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.triboint.2015.08.024
Reference:
JTRI3801
To appear in:

Tribology International

Received date: 24 April 2015


Revised date: 24 July 2015
Accepted date: 12 August 2015
Cite this article as: Nursel Altan zbek, Adem iek, Mahmut Glesin, Onur
zbek, Effect of cutting conditions on wear performance of cryogenically
treated tungsten carbide inserts in dry turning of stainless steel, Tribology
International, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.triboint.2015.08.024
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Effect of cutting conditions on wear performance of cryogenically


treated tungsten carbide inserts in dry turning of stainless steel
a

b,*

Nursel Altan zbek , Adem iek , Mahmut Glesin , Onur zbek

Dzce University, Cumayeri Vocational School of Higher Education, Dzce 81700, Turkey
YldrmBeyazt University, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Department of Mechanical
Engineering, Ankara 06050, Turkey
Tel:+903123241555
Fax:+903123241505
E-mail:acicek@ybu.edu.tr
c
Gazi University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Ankara 06500, Turkey
d
Dzce University, Gmova Vocational School of Higher Education, Dzce 81850, Turkey
b

Abstract
In this study, the effects of cryogenic treatment on tool wear of uncoated tungsten carbide inserts were
investigated in the turning of AISI 316 stainless steel. It was found that notch wear appeared at low and medium
cutting speeds, while flank wear and crater wear formed at all combinations of the process parameters selected
for turning. In addition, treated inserts exhibited superior wear performance to untreated ones. This can be
attributed to high wear resistance and low thermal conductivity of treated inserts. The results were verified by
analyses of microstructure and hardness, image processing and X-ray diffraction.

Keywords: Cryogenic treatment, Tungsten carbide, Tool wear, Wear resistance

1.Introduction
The life of tungsten carbide inserts plays a major role in the productivity of machining operations and tooling
costs due to the fact that tungsten carbide (WC-Co) is one of the most common cutting tool materials used in
industry. Therefore, these inserts are expected to be resistant to the elevated temperatures and forces generated
during conventional cutting operations .
The excessive temperatures and forces occur in the machining of stainless steels having hard machinability
characteristics due to high Ni and Cr content. This case leads to rapid tool wear and failure of tungsten carbide
tools. Cryogenic treatment is a process employed to enhance the life of cutting tools by means of the microstructural changes that occur during treatment. In cryogenic treatment, samples are subjected to gradual cooling
from room temperature to cryogenic temperatures (up to -196 C), held for a certain period (in general, 24 h),
and then gradually heated back to room temperature. Many studies report that some mechanical and physical
properties of tool materials such as tool steels and cemented carbides improve with cryogenic treatment.
Firouzdor et al. investigated the effects of cryogenic treatment on tool life and wear resistance in drilling of
carbon steels with M2 HSS drills at higher speeds. Experimental results showed that tool life of treated and
tempered drills substantially improved (up to 126%). Homogeneous distribution of carbides and transformation
of retained austenite into martensite were two reasons of improvements in tool life of HSS drills. iek et al

studied machinability of AISI 316 austenitic stainless steel using cryogenically treated and untreated HSS twist
drills. Experimental results showed that tool life of treated drills improved from 14% to 218%. The
improvements were mainly attributed to formation of fine and homogeneous carbide particles and transformation
of retained austenite to martensite. Akhbarizadeh et al. performed a study to investigate the effects of cryogenic
treatment on wear behaviour of AISI D6 cold work tool steel. The results revealed that cryogenic treatment
substantially reduced the amount of retained austenite in the microstructure and therefore it improved wear
resistance and hardness of AISI D6 tool steel. Huang et al. reported that cryogenic treatment significantly
changed the microstructure of M2 tool steel. The experiments indicated that wear resistance of the tool steel
improved due to facilitating the carbon clustering after cryogenic treatment and increases in the carbide density
after subsequent tempering process. Liu et al. claimed that the hardness and abrasion resistance of CrMnB highchromium cast iron could be improved obviously due to the precipitation of carbides, the martensite
transformation, and a refined microstructure resulting from cryogenic treatment.Wang et al investigated the
effects of deep cryogenic treatment on the microstructure, hardness and abrasion resistance behaviours of
16Cr1Mo1Cu cast iron subjected to destabilization treatment. The results showed that the cryogenic treatment
can effectively reduced the retained austenite after destabilization heat treatment, but could not make retained
austenite transform completely. Cryogenic treatment can markedly improve bulk hardness and abrasion
resistance of the high chromium cast iron. Gill et al.

aimed to present the metallurgical and mechanical

characterization of cryogenically treated tungsten carbide (WCCo) in terms of -phase particles and wear
behaviour. They declared that the hard phase particles of tungsten carbide were refined into their most stable
form via the phenomenon of spheroidization after shallow (-110 C for 18 h) and deep (-196 C for 38 h)
cryogenic treatment. It was pointed out that cryogenic treatment caused crystal structure changes in both the hard
and soft binder phases of the tungsten carbide material, which may have been responsible for the enhanced
hardness and wear resistance properties along with the precipitation of phase carbides. Kao reported that the
abrasive wear resistance of sintered tungsten carbide inserts had increased after cryogenic treatment. Bryson
claimed that the wear resistance, and hence increase in tool life, of carbide tools was provided by the
improvement in the holding strength of the binder after cryogenic treatment. Reddy et al. investigated the
machinability of C45 steel with untreated and treated (-176 C for 24 h) tungsten carbide ISO P-30 inserts in
terms of flank wear, main cutting force, and surface finish. It was determined that cryogenic treatment resulted in
better machinability due to the increase in the thermal conductivity of the tungsten carbide. This resulted in a
decrease in the temperature of the tool tip during the turning process. Vadivel and Rudramoorthy examined the
performance of cryogenically treated and untreated coated carbide inserts in terms of flank wear, power
consumption, and surface roughness in the turning of nodular cast iron. On the whole, the cryogenically treated
coated carbide inserts exhibited a better performance than that of the untreated ones. This outcome was attributed
to the presence of fine -phase carbide distribution in the cryogenically treated inserts. Yong et al. investigated
and analyzed the differences in tool performance between cryogenically treated and untreated tool inserts during
the orthogonal turning of steel. The authors claimed that treated tools performed best when the tool temperature
was kept low and that heavy-duty cutting operations would not benefit when the cutting tool was heated for long
periods. Ramji et al.

reported that cryogenically treated tungsten carbide inserts exhibited superior wear

performance to untreated ones in turning of gray cast iron at all combination of cutting parameters.

The present study aimed to elucidate the effects of cryogenic treatment on flank wear, notch wear and crater
wear in the turning of AISI 316 austenitic stainless steel with uncoated cemented carbide inserts. To achieve this
goal, a number of turning experiments were conducted on a CNC lathe. Scanning electron microscope (SEM),
X-ray diffraction (XRD) and image processing analyses as well as hardness and wear measurements were carried
out in order to evaluate the obtained results.

2. Materials and Methods


Austenitic stainless steel (AISI 316) bars of 100 mm in diameter and 250 mm in length were used as workpiece
materials in the turning experiments performed on the CNC lathe. The cutting parameters were determined
according to the cutting tool manufacturers recommendations and the experiments were performed at four
cutting speeds, three feed rates and a constant depth of cut. The experimental conditions are shown in Table 1.
Uncoated tungsten carbide inserts recommended by ISCAR for machining of austenitic stainless steels were used
in the wear experiments. Worldwide usage ratio of uncoated carbide tools within all cutting tools is around 17% .
Therefore, wear performance of uncoated carbide tools with high usage ratio should be enhanced. In addition,
the effects of cryogenic treatment can be observed on uncoated tools more clearly because they have no a
thermal barrier as a hard coating.

Hence, uncoated tungsten carbide inserts were cryogenically treated at a

temperature of -145 C for 24 h. After cryogenic treatment, they were tempered at a 200 C for 2 h. In order to
clearly evaluate the performance difference and wear progress of the cemented carbide inserts in terms of tool
wear, the cutting process was periodically stopped and the amount of flank wear and notch wear formed on the
inserts were measured using a digital microscope. The depth of craters was measured at the end of theturning
experiments using a Mahr Conturograph with an accuracy of 1 m and tip radius of 25 m. The measurements
of microhardness were performed under a load of 200 g for 15 s using an HMV SHIMADZU microhardness
tester. The microhardness

was measured six times for each specimen and the mean value of these

measurements was accepted as the microhardness value of that specimen. The SHIMADZU XRD-600 device was
used to take XRD profiles of the inserts. Wear and microstructure images of the inserts were taken using the
LEO 1430VP SEM device. Before microstructure images were taken, the surfaces of the specimens were
etched with Murakami solution. In addition, the amounts of carbides before and after cryogenic treatment were
determined by image processing (Clemex Vision Lite) software.

Table 1
Experimental conditions.

Machine tool
Workpiece material
(Chemical composition)

: TAKSAN TTC630 CNC lathe


: AISI 316 Austenitic Stainless Steel (C:0.04%, Mn:1.18%, Si:0.41%, P:0.038%,
S:0.012%, Cr:16.3%, Ni:10.09%, Mo:2.02%, Cu:0.49%)

Cutting tool

: Uncoated tungsten carbide

Tool holder
Cutting method
Cutting condition
Heat treatment
Cutting speed, Vc
Feed rate, f
Depth of cut, a

SNMG 120412 TF
: DSBNR/L 2525 M12
: Oblique cutting
: Dry
: Cryogenic treatment
: 100, 120, 140 and 160 m/min
: 0.15, 0.3 and 0.45 mm/rev
: 2.4 mm

3. Experimental Results and Discussion


3.1. Microstructural observations

3.1.1. Microstructure analysis


There are three main phases in the microstructure of WC-Co inserts, namely, the phase (WC), phase (Co),
and phase (Co3W3C and Co6W6C). Fig. 1 shows SEM pictures of the , and phases of the untreated and
treated uncoated inserts. The carbides appear as dark gray spots in the microstructure of the carbide inserts.
Vadivel and Rudramoorthy reported that the cryogenic treatment refined coarser, randomly-distributed phase
particles into the most stable form. These finer particles along with the larger tungsten carbide particles formed a
denser, more coherent and much tougher matrix. After cryogenic treatment, the fine carbides improved the
hardness and wear resistance without significantly affecting the toughness. On the other hand, the effects of
cryogenic treatment on phase grain size of the carbide inserts were noted and investigated. Upon measuring the
size of the particles, it was found that the average grain size was 19.715 nm and 21.44 nm for the untreated and
treated inserts, respectively. Reddy et al. claimed that the cryogenic treatment reduced the chemical degradation
of the cobalt matrix at higher temperatures. Lower binder contents in tungsten carbide samples increased the
overall thermal conductivity. An increase in carbide grain size for the cryogenic treated cemented carbides
increased the thermal conductivity of cemented carbide. This effect was attributed to an increase in carbide grain
contiguity and the dominant role of the carbide phase in thermal conduction in tungsten carbide based cemented
carbides.

Fig. 1. Microstructures of WCCo inserts: a) untreated, b) treated.


The SEM pictures also show some new carbide particles which appeared after the cryogenic treatment and
tempering process. Thus, the cryogenic treatment increased the amount of carbide and homogenously distributed
carbide particles in the microstructure. To verify the increases in and the homogenous distribution of the carbide
particles, an image analysing software was employed. The carbide zones were coloured red by means of this
software (Fig. 2). It was observed from these pictures that the amount of carbide had significantly increased
after the cryo-tempering process.

In addition, the numerical results of the image processing are shown in Table 2. The percentages of carbide for
the untreated and treated inserts were 7.5% and 12.9%, respectively. Briefly, it was found that the carbides in the
treated inserts had increased by 5.4% in comparison with the untreated ones.

a)

b)
Fig. 2. The red-colored carbides in the WCCo inserts: a) untreated, b) treated.

Table 2
Amounts of carbide.

carbide rate (%)

carbide count

Untreated
Treated

7.5
12.9

carbide sum. size ( m )

2522
3330

94.9
162.8

Altan zbek et al. observed some new -carbide regions and more homogeneous distribution of carbides in the
microstructure of treated tungsten carbide inserts after cryogenic treatment for 24 h. It was reported in the study
that this case led to significant increases in wear resistance of treated turning inserts. Reddy et al. reported
that, along with critical temperatures, new carbides were formed in the microstructure of P30 tungsten
carbide inserts. Gill et al. determined that phase created a continuous structure throughout the microstructure
in treated WC inserts. In addition, they declared that the content of the phase (Co) resisting higher
temperatures had
significantly decreased and that additional phase carbides (Co6W6C) had precipitated after cryogenic
treatment.
and Seah et al. reported that the cryogenic treatment and tempering
Similarly, Vadivel and Rudramoorthy
process enhanced the amount of carbides and homogenously distributed the carbide particles.
3.1.2.
analysis

XRD

The XRD profiles of the untreated and treated inserts are shown in Figs. 3a and 3b, respectively. It can be
observed from the XRD profiles of the treated inserts that phase carbides (Co6 W6C) were formed at about 28
degrees and that the peak intensities of WC significantly increased (Figs. 3a and 3b). The new carbide peaks
are good indications of the increase of carbides after the cryogenic treatment and tempering process, which is
also supported by the results of the image processing (Table 2).

a)

b)

Fig. 3. XRD profiles of the WCCo inserts: a) untreated, b) treated.

3.2. Tool wear

3.2.1. Flank wear

The variations of flank wear of both the untreated and treated inserts at a feed rate of 0.15 mm/rev and cutting
speeds of 100, 120, 140 and 160 m/min according to the cutting times are shown in Figs. 4a, 4b, 4c and 4d,
respectively. In the experiments, the workpiece materials were turned for 32, 20, 6 and 1 min at cutting speeds of
100, 120, 140 and 160 m/min, respectively. As shown in Fig. 4, flank wear appeared at the first stop time and
increased with increasing cutting time at all cutting speeds. Moreover, at all combinations of cutting conditions,
the treated inserts exhibited better peformance than the untreated ones in terms of flank wear. At a feed of 0.15
mm/rev and cutting speeds of 100, 120, 140 and 160 m/min, the flank wear formed on the treated inserts had
improved by 34%, 16%, 17% and 27% in comparison with the untreated inserts. This can be attributed to
improving wear resistance due to increasing hardness and to the improving microstructure via precipitation of
secondary carbides and homogenous distribution of the carbide. Microhardness measurements revealed that the
microhardness values of the treated inserts had increased by 6% when compared to those of the untreated inserts.
The hardness values of the untreated and treated inserts were measured as 1709.8 HV and 1812.6 HV,
respectively. On the other hand, built-up edge (BUE) formed on the cutting edges of both the untreated and
treated inserts. Built-up edge frequently appears in the cutting of ductile materials. It is well known that
austenitic stainless steels have a high tendency to adhere to the cutting edge of tools due to their ductile structure.
Gerth et al. reported that BUE formed on the cutting tools due to ductility and adhesion tendency of austenitic
stainless steels during their turning operations.
In addition, it can be observed from Fig. 4 that the amount of flank wear had increased with increasing cutting
speed. The flank wear value was 0.116 mm at a cutting speed of 160 m/min and cutting time of 1 min, while the
flank wear value was 0.092 mm at a cutting speed of 100 m/min and cutting time of 32 min, thus clearly
indicating the negative effects of the cutting speed on flank wear.Higher cutting speeds lead to rapid tool wear
due to serious heat generation and rapid plastic deformation .

Fig. 4. Variations of flank wear versus cutting times at a feed rate of 0.15 mm/rev and cutting speeds of a) 100
m/min, b) 120 m/min, c) 140 m/min, d) 160 m/min.

Fig. 5 shows the variations of flank wear on the untreated and treated inserts along with cutting times at a feed
rate of 0.3 mm/rev and four different cutting speeds. The treated inserts proved superior to the untreated inserts
in terms of the flank wear formed on them at especially low cutting speeds. At higher cutting speeds, despite the
superior wear performance of the treated inserts, the amounts of flank wear on the untreated inserts and on the
treated inserts were closer to each other. At a cutting speed of 100 m/min, the flank wear formed on the treated
inserts after turning for 10 min was equal to that on the untreated inserts for 5 min. The wear progress at a
cutting speed of 120 m/min was similar to that at the previous cutting speed. At a feed of 0.3 mm/rev and cutting
speeds of 100, 120, 140 and 160 m/min, the flank wear formed on the treated inserts improved by 29%, 27%,
15% and 17%, respectively, in comparison with that on the untreated inserts.

Fig. 5. Variations of flank wear versus cutting times at a feed rate of 0.3 mm/rev and cutting speeds of a) 100
m/min, b) 120 m/min, c) 140 m/min, d) 160 m/min.
The variations of flank wear along with cutting times at a feed rate of 0.45 mm/rev and four cutting speeds are
given in Fig. 6. Upon examination, it can be seen that flank wear had occurred at all cutting speeds. Similarly, at
this feed value, the treated inserts exhibited better flank wear performance than the untreated ones. At a cutting
speed of 100 m/min, the flank wear of the treated inserts at a cutting time of 60 sec was equal to the wear of the
untreated inserts at a cutting time of 30 sec. On the other hand, at a cutting speed of 160 m/min, catastrophic
failure nearly occurred on the cutting edge of the untreated inserts, whereas normal flank wear was formed on
the flank face of the treated inserts at the end of the cutting process. The best flank wear performances were
obtained with the treated inserts at a cutting speed of 100 m/min. At a feed of 0.45 mm/rev and cutting speeds of
100, 120, 140 and 160 m/min, the flank wear formed on the treated inserts had improved by 23%, 15%, 9% and
17%, respectively, in comparison with the untreated inserts. Gill et al. , Vadivel and Rudramoorthy , Seah et al.
and Yong et al.

reported that cryogenic treatment and tempering processes enhanced the abrasive wear

resistance of tungsten carbide tools owing to the precipitation of fine carbide particles and their homogeneous
distribution in the microstructure.

Fig. 6. Variations of flank wear versus cutting times at a feed rate of 0.45 mm/rev and cutting speeds of a) 100
m/min, b) 120 m/min, c) 140 m/min, d) 160 m/min.
3.2.2. Notch wear

The variations of notch wear against cutting times at a feed rate of 0.15 mm/rev and four cutting speeds are
illustrated in Fig. 8. At all cutting speeds, it was observed that notch wear had occurred on the main cutting
edges of the carbide inserts. The treated inserts exhibited superior performance to the untreated inserts in terms
of notch wear at cutting speeds of 100 m/min and 140 m/min. The improvement percentages in notch wear on
the treated inserts versus the untreated ones were 31% and 34%, respectively. However, at a cutting speed of 120
m/min, it was determined that the treated inserts showed a 10% worse wear performance than the untreated ones
after a turning process of 20 min. Similarly, at a cutting speed of 160 m/min, the notch wear on the treated
inserts was 7% more than on the untreated ones. At this cutting speed, as notch wear had occurred on both
inserts prior to the final cutting time, a graphic could not be constructed. After a cutting time of 1 min, the notch
wear values formed on the untreated and treated inserts were measured as 0.183 mm and 0.195 mm, respectively.
In addition, BUE generally formed on the cutting edges of both inserts. It is known that BUE on the cutting edge
of tools occurs at lower cutting speeds. Fig.7 shows EDX analyses of BUE region. Presence of Fe, Ni, Cr, Si,
and Mn on both tungsten carbide inserts is strong evidence for BUE.

10
10

a)

b)

Untreated
Treated

C
47.49
39.05

O
20.5
29.72

Cr
5.95
5.05

Mn
0.64
0.52

Fe
22.09
19.27

Ni
2.26
2.54

W
1.08
-

Si
3.85

Units
wt.%
wt.%

Fig. 7. EDX analyses of BUE and notch regions of the carbide inserts at a feed rate of 0.3 mm/rev and cutting
speed of 120 m/min: a) untreated, b) treated.
In general, treated inserts exhibited better wear performance than untreated ones in terms of notch wear at all
combinations of cutting conditions. However, at only cutting speeds of 120 and 160 m/min, untreated inserts
were superior to treated inserts. This exceptional case can be explained by larger BUE. Wear pictures on Fig. 7b
support this claim.

Fig. 8. Variations of notch wear formed on the untreated and treated inserts according to cutting times at a feed
rate of 0.15 mm/rev and cutting speeds of a) 100 m/min, b) 120 m/min, c) 140 m/min.
At a feed rate of 0.3 mm/rev, even though notch wear appeared at lower cutting speeds (100 and 120 m/min), at
higher cutting speeds (140 and 160 m/min), it did not form on the main cutting edges of either the untreated or
treated inserts. ifti clarified this case with the reduction in BUE tendency owing to the increasing cutting
speed, which leads to higher temperatures in the cutting zone. One of the most important reasons of notch wear
is oxidation. The notch wear may occur by chemical reaction of tool material and oxygen in the air at the
interface between tool and the atmosphere with the effects of high temperatures. High O content at the notch
wear region is a good indicator for oxidation (Fig. 7). As shown in Fig. 9, it was observed that significant
decreases in notch wear on the treated inserts had occurred in comparison with the untreated ones. On the other
hand, at both cutting speeds, notch wear started to form on the treated inserts at the first stop time, whereas it
appeared on the untreated ones after cutting times of 5 min and 1 min at cutting speeds of 100 m/min and 120
m/min, respectively. At a cutting speed of 100 m/min, the treated inserts showed a significant improvement of
69% in notch wear in comparison with the untreated ones. Similarly, at a cutting speed of 120 m/min, the
improvement was 48%. These findings showed that the cryogenic treatment and tempering processes had
significantly enhanced the wear resistance of the carbide inserts at medium feeds. In addition, it was observed
that a small incidence of BUE had occurred on the cutting edges of both the treated and untreated inserts.

Fig. 9. Variations of notch wear formed on the untreated and treated inserts according to cutting times at a feed
rate of 0.3 mm/rev and cutting speeds of a) 100 m/min, b) 120 m/min.
At a feed rate of 0.45 mm/rev, no notch wear had appeared on either of the inserts at any cutting speed. This can
be attributed to the increasing temperatures generated in the cutting zone along with the increasing material
removal rate at higher feeds. As the feed rate increases, the section of chip increases and consequently friction
increases , this lead to increase cutting forces, especially in thrust direction. It is observed that the region of high
stresses in the thrust direction turns inward as the feed increases, which may result in the increase in
temperatures generated, so the temperature at interface increases . The higher temperatures reduced the BUE
tendency.

3.2.3. Crater wear

Measurements of crater depth on the rake faces of the untreated and treated inserts are shown in Fig. 10. The
craters of the treated inserts are shallower than those of the untreated ones at all combinations of cutting speeds
and feeds. At a feed rate of 0.15 mm/rev and cutting speeds of 100, 120, 140 and 160 m/min, crater wears on the
treated inserts was reduced by 20%, 53%, 52% and 7% in comparison to those on the untreated ones,
respectively. At a feed rate of 0.3 mm/rev, the treated inserts exhibited superior performance by improvements of
13%, 38%, 1% and 46% at cutting speeds of 100, 120, 140 and 160 m/min, respectively. Similarly,
improvements in crater wear at a feed of 0.45 mm/rev were 9%, 16%, 1% and 3% at cutting speeds of 100, 120,
140 and 160 m/min, respectively. In terms of crater wear, the treated carbide inserts exhibited better performance
at lower speeds than at medium and higher speeds. It is well known that diffusion occurring because of the
higher temperatures at the tool-chip contact area leads to crater wear. Furthermore, one of the most important
reasons for this diffusion is the chemical affinity between the workpiece and tool materials. In literature, it was
reported that crater wear significantly decreased owing to chemically inert cutting tools and the decreases in
cutting zone temperatures after cryogenic treatment . Another of the most important causes of crater wear is
abrasion. Abrasion is directly related to the hardness and wear resistance of a cutting tool. As mentioned above,
because of the hardness and wear resistance of the cryogenically treated carbide inserts, they exhibited a superior
performance compared to the untreated ones.

Fig. 10. Variations of crater wear on the untreated and treated inserts at feeds of a) 0.15 mm/rev, b) 0.3 mm/rev,
c) 0.45 mm/rev.
3.2.4. Evaluation of SEM pictures

In order to elucidate the wear mechanisms, SEM pictures of the untreated and treated inserts worn at feeds of
0.15, 0.3 and 0.45 mm/rev are given in Figs. 11, 12 and 13, respectively. It was observed that flank wear had
formed on both the untreated and treated inserts as a result of the abrasive wear mechanism (Fig. 11). In
addition, notch wear had appeared on them at all cutting speeds due to oxidation and the adhesive wear
mechanisms. Similarly, BUE was observed on the cutting edges of both the treated and untreated inserts. On the
other hand, craters had occurred on the rake faces of all inserts at all speeds as a consequence of abrasive and
diffusion wear mechanisms, and some material transfers from the workpiece material were observed on the
surfaces of the craters. Fig. 14 also shows the material transfers along the crater surfaces. The presence of the
elements Fe and Si was a strong indication of the material transfer. Since a strong chemical affinity exists
between stainless steel and the carbon in tungsten carbide, diffusion is inevitable at the tool-chip interface in the
turning of stainless steels with uncoated tungsten carbide inserts. However, at a feed rate of 0.15 mm/rev, it was
observed that the craters formed on the rake faces of all inserts were not deep or large enough to adversely affect
the cutting performance (Fig. 11). This type of wear depends considerably on the temperature in the cutting
zone. Hence, cutting conditions such as cutting speed and feed are very important.

V=100 m/min

V=120 m/min

V=140 m/min

V=160 m/min

a)

b)
Fig. 11. SEM pictures of wear on the carbide inserts at a feed rate of 0.15 mm/rev: a) untreated, b) treated.

In the SEM pictures of the inserts used to turn the stainless steel bars at a feed rate of 0.3 mm/rev (Fig. 12), it can
be seen that the amount of wear at this feed is more dramatic than at a feed of 0.15 mm/rev. In particular, notch
wear had reached a maximum at this feed while crater wear was greater and deeper than at a feed of 0.15
mm/rev. In addition, it was determined that the notch wear had occurred on the end cutting edges of both the
untreated and treated inserts at a cutting speed of 100 m/min. Although BUE formed on both inserts, the amount
of BUE on the untreated inserts was quite large when compared to that on the untreated ones. On the other hand,
the notch wear on the main cutting edges of the untreated inserts was about three times greater than that on the
untreated ones. Furthermore, the BUE and chippings on the cutting edge of the untreated inserts had caused
significant deterioration of the uniformity of their cutting edges. At a cutting speed of 120 m/min, while notch
wear had appeared on the end cutting edges and plastic deformation on the nose of the untreated inserts, these
types of wear were not observed on the treated inserts. Plastic deformation occurs when high pressures (i.e.
compression) are exerted on the cutting edge in combination with elevated temperatures. It leads to the
generation of higher temperatures in the cutting zone, geometric deformation of the insert, and variation of the
chip flow on the rake face. To avoid this type of wear, turning inserts should have higher hot hardness . Reddy et
al. reported that cryogenically treated tungsten carbide inserts had higher hot hardness than untreated ones. On
the other hand, the amount of flank wear on the treated inserts was greater than on the untreated ones. In
addition, notch wear was observed on the main cutting edges of both inserts. At cutting speeds of 140 m/min and
160 m/min, no notch wear occurred on either the main cutting edges or end cutting edges of the untreated or
treated inserts because the BUE tendency had decreased as a result of the higher temperatures generated at the
higher cutting speeds .

V=100 m/min

V=120 m/min

V=140 m/min

V=160 m/min

a)

b)
Fig. 12. SEM pictures of wear on the carbide inserts at a feed rate of 0.3 mm/rev: a) untreated, b) treated.
At a feed of 0.45 mm/rev (Fig. 13), no notch wear on the main cutting edges of either the untreated or treated
inserts was encountered. However, at a cutting speed of 100 m/min, because of the higher temperatures
generated at the higher feed rates, the amount of BUE was less than that of other feeds. On both untreated and
treated inserts, notch wear appeared only on the end cutting edges. In addition, at a cutting speed of 160 m/min,
while the treated inserts exhibited gradual wear, the untreated inserts reached catastrophic failure (fracture)
owing to the excessive mechanical loads occurring at higher feeds. Treated inserts were superior to untreated
inserts in terms of chipping and fracture. Wear types such as chipping and fracture are related to fracture
toughness of a cutting tool material. Reddy et al. and Gill et al. claimed that cryogenic treatment improved
toughness of tungsten carbide tool materials. Also residual stresses in the material resulted due to sintering of
tungsten carbide inserts are relieved during cryogenic treatment. These micro-stresses are the leading cause of
early carbide fracture . In addition, crater wear formed on the rake face of all inserts, and material transfers from
the workpiece material formed on their crater surfaces. The craters of the untreated inserts were deeper than
those of the untreated ones.
V=100 m/min

V=120 m/min

V=140 m/min

V=160 m/min

a)

b)
Fig. 13. SEM pictures of wear on the carbide inserts at a feed rate of 0.45 mm/rev: a) untreated, b) treated.

a)

b)

Fig. 14. EDX analyses for crater surfaces of the carbide inserts at a feed rate of 0.3 mm/rev and cutting speed of
120 m/min: a) untreated, b) treated.
4. Conclusion

In this study, the effects of deep cryogenic treatment on tool wear were investigated in the turning of AISI 316
austenitic stainless steel with uncoated cemented carbide inserts. In consequence of the analyses and turning
experiments performed, the findings obtained in this study are as follows:
As a result of image processing analysis, it was found that the amount of fine carbides in the deep
cryogenically treated inserts had increased by 5.4% in comparison to that of the untreated ones. Fine
carbides improve the hardness and wear resistance. Microhardness measurements showed that the hardness
values of the treated inserts had increased by 6% when compared to those of the untreated inserts.

Cryogenic treatment led to an increase of 9% in the grain size of the treated inserts with respect to that of the
untreated ones. This larger grain size caused to an increase in WC grain contiguity and to increases in the
thermal conductivity of the treated inserts.

At all cutting conditions, the treated inserts showed a better performance than the untreated ones of up to
34% and 53% in terms of flank wear and crater wear, respectively. However, while the treated inserts
exibited a notably superior performance of up to 69% compared to the untreated ones in terms of notch wear
at a medium feed rate (0.3 mm/rev), at a lower feed rate (0.15 mm/rev), the improvement of the treated
inserts in tool performance did not exceed 69%.

As a result of wear experiments and various analyses, cryogenic treatment was shown to significantly improve
the hardness and wear resistance of the tungsten carbide inserts. This improvement can be explained by the
increases in grain size, additional formation of fine carbide percentage, and high thermal conductivity.
Acknowledgement
The authors wish to place their sincere thanks to Gazi University Scientific Research Project Division for
financial support for the Project No. 07/2010-23.

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HIGHLIGHTS

Cryogenic treatment led to an increase of 9% in the grain size ofcarbide inserts.

Amount of fine carbides increased by 5.4% after cryogenic treatment.

Treated inserts showed a better performance in terms of flank wear and crater wear.

Notch wear occurred only at lower and medium cutting speeds and feed rates.