Effects of manufacturing chain on mechanical performance : Study on heat treatment of powertrain components

Sammanfattning: The increasing demands for lightweight designs with high strength call for improved manufacturing processes regarding heat treatment of steel. The manufacturing process has considerable potential to improve the mechanical performance and to obtain more reliable results with less variation.The goal of this thesis is to establish new knowledge regarding improved manufacturing processes in industrial heat treatment applications. Three research questions with associated hypotheses are formulated. Process experiments, evaluation of the mechanical performance, and modelling of the fatigue behaviour assist in answering the questions.The gas quenching procedure following low-pressure carburising differs from the conventional procedure of gas carburising and oil quenching. It is shown that the introduction of a holding time during the low-temperature part of the quench has a positive effect on mechanical properties, with some 20 percent increase in fatigue strength. This is attributed to increased compressive surface residual stress and stabilisation of austenite.Tempering is a common manufacturing process step following hardening in order to increase the toughness of the steel. However, the research shows that the higher hardness from eliminating tempering from the manufacturing process is beneficial for contact fatigue resistance. The untempered steel showed not only less contact fatigue damage but also a different contact fatigue mechanism.Straightening of elongated components is made after heat treatment in order to compensate for distortions. The research shows that straightening of induction hardened shafts may lead to lowering of the fatigue strength of up to 20 percent. A fracture mechanics based model is developed to estimate the effects of straightening on fatigue strength.