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Pulsed electron-beam irradiation followed by nitriding of Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloy

Markov, A. B.; Günzel, R.; Reuther, H.; Shevchenko, N.; Akhmadeev, Y. K.; Schanin, P. M.; Koval, N. N.; Rotshtein, V. P.; Proskurovsky, D. I.


Titanium alloys have some attractive properties enabling them to be used in many industries, while their poor tribological properties often are an obstacle in mechanical engineering applications. The latter properties can be improved by applying surface treatment, for instance, nitriding.
Aim of the research was to investigate the effect of pulsed electron-beam pre-irradiation on the process of titanium alloy (Ti–6Al—4V) low-temperature (783 K) nitriding.
AES revealed that the depth of penetration of nitrogen into the specimen bulk for the pre-irradiated specimen is noticeably larger than that for the non-irradiated one (110 and 170 nm, respectively). Moreover, the overall quantity of nitrogen absorbed by the pre-irradiated specimen during nitriding is two times as much as in the non-irradiated one. So, pre-irradiation of the titanium alloy stimulates its saturation with nitrogen.
XRD analysis revealed that irradiation of this titanium alloy leads to the formation of martensite phases referred to as alpha’ and alpha’’ in the thin surface layer of specimen. Appearance of these metastable phases results in high residual stress values in the irradiated target. In such a way the subsequent nitrogen diffusion in the irradiated specimens will take place in the field of intrinsic stresses. After nitriding the phase composition of titanium alloy was changed and the new TiN and Ti2N phases have appeared. It can be concluded from X-ray diffraction patterns that a fraction of these new phases is much larger for the pre-irradiated before nitriding specimen.
The microhardness measurements showed that the microhardness of surface layer of pre-irradiated with subsequent nitriding specimens is almost four times as much as the initial one (11.3 and 3 GPa, respectively). As for the specimens subjected to the nitriding without pre-irradiation their microhardness appeared to be 8.9 GPa, i.e. three times larger than that for the initial specimen.
Thus, the combined treatment, involving pulsed e-beam pre-irradiation, subsequent cleaning and nitriding is promising and leads to increase in the absorption of nitrogen, the fractions of TiN and Ti2N phases and the surface microhardness in processed titanium alloy.

Keywords: Titanium alloy; Ti–6Al—4V; pulsed electron-beam; nitriding

  • Lecture (Conference)
    8th International Conference on Modification of Materials with Particle Beams and Plasma Flows, 10.-15.09.2006, Tomsk, Russia
  • Russian Physics Journal 49(2006)8, 276-279