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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

Print version ISSN 0038-223X

Abstract

FEDOTOV, I et al. A mathematical model of laser surface heat-cooling treatment for medium carbon steel. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2011, vol.111, n.6, pp. 379-384. ISSN 0038-223X.

SYNOPSIS One of the most effective methods of metal surface heat treatment is through laser hardening. In most cases, laser parameters are determined experimentally, which is expensive and time-consuming. A mathematical model for the surface heat treatment process will allow a significant decrease in costs, and reduce the time required for optimization. In the present work, the authors present a mathematical model for laser heat treatment with forced cooling which can be applied to medium carbon steel. The model is based on a three-dimensional heat transfer equation using Green's function. The model allows one to calculate the temperature of the treated steel at different depths below the surface with and without cooling, for set values of the laser power and travelling speed, when the heat transfer coefficient is a known constant. It also takes variations in the radiation adsorption coefficient on the metal surface and laser beam spot size into account. The model was illustrated by comparing calculated and experimental temperature profiles of mild carbon steel with 0.5% C with and without cooling. A reasonably good agreement was achieved between experimental and predicted values to ensure that a high enough austenizing temperature with short enough cooling time was reached for direct martensite formation. It also predicted the depth of treatment accurately. The incorporation of cooling in the model substantially improves previous models based on heat transfer only. It delivers a tool that can with a reasonable accuracy predict the depth of surface heat treatment and cooling time required from operational parameters, such as laser power, speed of motion, and distance between laser and cooling source, that can be controlled in the work set-up. This can eliminate trial and error efforts and result in significant time and cost savings.

Keywords : Laser; surface treatment; martensite transformation; carbon steel; heat treatment.

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