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Development of Ultra-fine Grained Stainless Steel by Nitrogen Absorption Treatment for Gaskets

Article of Honda R&D Technical Review Vol.20 No.1

Summary

Desirable attributes for a material used in a cylinder head gasket are the strength required to from a combustion gas seal and sufficient fatigue strength such that the gasket may operate properly during engine operation. The high combustion pressure characteristic of diesel engines in particular creates a severe environment for the gaskets, necessitating the achievement of high levels of strength and fatigue in the material. In order to satisfy these requirements, a method of exploiting the difference in the solubility limit of the nitrogen in the martensite and austenite structures that form the composite structure of SUS301L stainless steel to enable the precipitation of Cr2N by means of the application of an aging treatment to supersaturated nitrogen was examined. The achievement of high workability and refinement of the grains are effective in increasing fatigue strength. Workability was increased by employing a nitrogen absorption treatment in the intermediate annealing process to produce an austenite structure as the surface structure. In addition, the pinning effect of the precipitated Cr2N during annealing refined the grains.
These innovations have enabled the development of a gasket displaying approximately 40% higher seal ability and an approximately 20% increase in fatigue limit in fatigue tests than those of a gasket formed from conventional materials.

Reference

(1) Katsurai, T.: Development of High Fatigue Strength Ultra-Fine Grained Stainless Steel for Cylinder Head Gasket, HONDA R&D Technical Review, Vol. 12, No. 1, p. 151-159
(2) Takagi, S.: Reversion of Deformation Induced Martensite to Austenite and Mechanism of Ultra Grain Refining, Tetsu-to-Hagane, Vol. 80, No. 10, N529-535 (1994)
(3) Takagi, S: Ultra Grain Refining of Steels, Journal of the Japan Society for Heat Treatment, Vol. 34, No. 5, p. 260-264 (1994)
(4) Tsuji, N.: Ultrafine Grained Steels, Tetsu-to-Hagane Vol. 88, No. 7, p. 1-11 (2002)
(5) Hatano, M., Tsuge, S.: Effects of Surface Nitriding on Deformation Microstructure in Cold-Rolled 304 Stainless Steel Sheets with Brihgt-Annealing, Journal of the Japan Society for Heat Treatment, Vol. 36, No. 6, p. 318-323 (1999)
(6) Tsuchiyama, T., Takagi, S.: Characteristics of Solution Nitriding and Properties of the High Nitrogen Stainless Steel, ELECTRIC FURNACE STEEL, Vol. 77, No. 2, p. 163-169 (2006)
(7) Kikuchi, M., Kajihara, M., Frisk, K.: Solubility of nitrogen in austenitic stainless steel, Proc. Int’l. Conf. High Nitrogen Steels, Ed. J. Foct & A. Hendry, p. 63-74 (1989)

Author (organization or company)

Tadao NISHIYAMA(Automobile R&D Center)、Takashi KATSURAI(Automobile R&D Center)、Kazuhiko ADACHI(Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd.)

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