Using the Principles of Image Analysis in the Assessment of the Proportion of Retained Austenite in the Case Hardened Layers
Archives of Metallurgy and Materials
Structures of carburized layers after the surface saturation process in gaseous, liquid or solid medium and after subsequent heat treatment (hardening and low-temperature tempering) consist mainly of high carbon plate martensite with a certain portion of retained austenite. The presence of retained austenite (RA) in carburized layers is mostly considered as undesirable because it decreases hardness of the hardened layer and furthermore, a spontaneous conversion to a ferritic-carbide mixture of
... carbide mixture of a bainitic type, accompanied by a change of properties, dimensional instability and the local increase in internal stress with the possible formation of cracks, can occur. The proportion of retained austenite is, therefore, a significant characteristics of the quality of hardened layers. This work deals with the evaluation of the volume fraction of retained austenite in carburized layers using image analysis on metallographic images.