American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Modification of Carbon Steel by Laser Surface Melting: Part I: Effect of Laser Beam Travelling Speed on Microstructural Features and Surface Hardness

Hashem F. El-Labban, M. Abdelaziz and Essam R.I. Mahmoud

DOI : 10.3844/ajeassp.2013.352.359

American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Volume 6, Issue 4

Pages 352-359

Abstract

The present study aims to improve the surface hardness of carbon steel by application of laser surface melting of effective conditions. The travelling speed of laser beam during this treatment is one of the important treatment conditions. This study aims to investigate the effect of laser surface melting with different beam speeds on macro and microstructure as well as the hardness distribution through the thickness of carbon steel. To achieve this target, three different travelling speeds (1500, 1000 and 500 mm min-1) at a constant beam power of 800 W were chosen in this study. The resulted laser treated specimens were investigated in macro and microscopically scale using optical and scanning electron microscope. Hardness measurements were also carried out through the thickness of the laser treated specimens. The laser treated areas with all used travelling speeds results in melted and solidified zone on the surface of the steel. In the same time, Plates of acicular martensite structure were observed within the upper part of the melted and solidified zone in almost all experimental conditions, while some bainite structure in ferrite grains are detected in its lower part. By increasing the travelling speed, the depth of the laser treated zone was decreases, while travelling speed has much less significant effect on the laser treated zone width. The size of the formed martensite plates was increased by decreasing the travelling speed from 1500 to 500 mm min-1. On the other hand, the travelling speed has a straight effect on the length of the acicular martensite; as the travelling speed increases, the acicular martensite became longer, while it shows fine acicular martensite at lower travelling speeds. The depth that full martensite structure can be reached is increased by increasing travelling speed. At lower travelling speed (500 mm min-1), large amount of bainite structure is observed at the center of the treated zone up to its lower end. The fast travelling speed (1500 mm min-1) show higher hardness on the free surface than that of slow travelling speed (500 mm min-1). On the other hand, the travelling speed has a reverse effect on the depth of this hardness increment; the slower travelling speed give deeper areas of high hardness than that of fast speed. The Heat Affect Zone (HAZ) areas were increased by decreasing the travelling speed. In all conditions, the heat affected zone areas were composed of partially decomposed pearlite in ferrite grains. Finally, the microstructure of the base metal far from the laser treated areas show normal ferrite-sound pearlite microstructure.

Copyright

© 2013 Hashem F. El-Labban, M. Abdelaziz and Essam R.I. Mahmoud. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.