Volume 3, Issue 2 (February 2006)
Tribological Behavior and Corrosion Resistance of Kolsterized AISI316L Austenitic Stainless Steel: Existing Applications in the Automotive Industry
In this paper the effect of Kolsterizing, a commercial low temperature carburizing process, on the dry sliding wear behaviour and corrosion resistance of the AISI316L austenitic stainless steel is presented and discussed, together with some applications of the process in the automotive field. The treatment significantly enhances the surface hardness of the steel; this hardness increase is due to the formation of a carbon-supersaturated austenite phase, without carbide precipitation. The Kolsterizing process also significantly increases the dry sliding wear resistance of the steel, both against metallic and ceramic countermaterials. Severe wear occurs in the case of the untreated steel, with strong adhesion, abrasion, and severe plastic deformation; while a moderate oxidative wear regime is observed for the low temperature carburized steel. The corrosion resistance in H2SO4 0.5 M and chloride-containing electrolytes is also significantly improved, thanks to the formation of a C-rich surface layer that ennobles the treated steel. At very high anodic potentials this surface layer is locally penetrated, producing a pitting-like corrosion form.