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The effect of prior austenite grain size on the machinability of a pre-hardened mold steel.: Measurement of average grain size using experimental methods and empirical models.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Mechanical and Materials Enineering. (Department of Mechanical and Materials Enineering)
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Machinability of pre-hardened mold steels and the effect of prior-austenite grain size,hardness,retained austenite content and effect of work hardening. : Chemical etchants used for revealing prior austenite grains. (English)
Abstract [en]

The use of pre-hardened mold steels has increased appreciably over the years; more than 80% of the plastic mold steels are used in pre-hardened condition. These steels are delivered to the customer in finished state i.e. there is no need of any post treatment. With hardness around ~40HRC, they have properties such as good polishability, good weldability, corrosion resistance and thermal conductivity. Machinability is a very important parameter in pre-hardened mold steels as it has a direct impact on the cost of the mold. In normal machining operations involving intricate or near net shapes, machining constitutes around 60% of the total mold cost.

Efforts are underway to explore every possible way to reduce costs associated with machining and to make production more economical. All the possible parameters which are considered to affect the machinability are being investigated by the researchers. This thesis work focuses on the effect of prior austenite grain size on the machinability of pre-hardened mold steel (Uddeholm Nimax).

 Austenitizing temperatures and holding times were varied to obtain varying grain sized microstructures in different samples of the same material. As it was difficult to delineate prior-austenite grain boundaries, experimental and empirical methods were employed to obtain reference values. These different grain sized samples were thereafter subjected to machining tests, using two sets of cutting parameters. Maximum flank wear depth=0.2mm was defined for one series of test which were more akin to rough machining, and machining length of 43200mm or maximum wear depth=0.2mm were defined for second series of tests which were similar to finishing machining.

The results were obtained after careful quantative and qualitative analysis of cutting tools. The results obtained for Uddeholm Nimax seemed to indicate that larger grain sized material was easier to machine. However, factors such as retained austenite content and work hardening on machined surface, which lead to degradation of machining operations were also taken into consideration. Uddeholm Nimax showed better machinability in large grained samples as retained austenite(less than 2%) content was minimal in the large grained sample. Small grained sample in Uddeholm Nimax had a higher retained austenite (7+2%) which resulted in degradation of machining operation and a lesser cutting tool life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 77 p.
Keyword [en]
prior austenite grain size, machining, mold steels, pre-hardened mold steels, work hardening, retained austenite, metallography, tool steels, chemical etching, prior austenite grains, lath martensite, rough machining, finish machining, Metallographic specimen preparation, Austenite grain growth, cutting tool, cutting tool life, wear, Theoretical average chip thickness
National Category
Materials Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-8777Local ID: MSK-21OAI: diva2:457589
Subject / course
Materials Engineering, Master of Science
Available from: 2011-11-29 Created: 2011-11-18 Last updated: 2011-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Irshad, Muhammad Aatif
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