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Laser polishing of cold work steel AISI D2 for dry metal forming tools

Surface homogenization, refinement and preparation for self-assembled monolayers
: Ross, I.; Temmler, A.; Küpper, M.; Prünte, S.; Teller, M.; Schneider, J.M.; Poprawe, R.


Bay, Niels (Ed.); Nielsen, Chris V. (Ed.):
Tribology in Manufacturing Processes and Joining by Plastic Deformation II
Zürich: Trans Tech Publications, 2018 (Key engineering materials 767)
ISBN: 978-3-0357-1299-5
ISBN: 978-3-0357-3299-3
International Conference on Tribology in Manufacturing Processes & Joining by Plastic Deformation (ICTMP) <8, 2018, Elsinore>
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Liquid lubrication guarantees high precision and surface quality of workpieces in industrial forming processes. In the case of aluminum cold extrusion, wear and cold welding due to direct contact of tool and workpiece are usually prevented by the extensive use of lubricants. Since the use of lubricants is economically and ecologically unfavorable, surface treatments of tools by, e.g. laser polishing and/or coatings are in the focus of current investigations to substitute these lubricants and establish so called “dry metal forming” processes. The material AISI D2, a ledeburitic 12% chromium steel which is known to have a significant amount of chromium carbide precipitations, is widely used in cold extrusion for forming tools. The large fraction of chromium carbide precipitations, however, hinder the formation of a dense self-assembled monolayer (SAM) that is necessary to avoid direct contact of reactive aluminum with surface oxides of the tool. Therefore, a homogeneous distribution of the chemical elements with a smaller fraction or no chromium carbides in the steel matrix, particularly in the tool surface, is aimed for. Using laser polishing, the surface layer is molten by continuous or pulsed laser radiation. Within the melt pool, the elementary distribution is homogenized as a result of thermal convection and diffusion processes, as well as a smoothed surface and a grain refinement are achieved. Consequently, the effects of the surface treatment by laser polishing on the area coverage of self-assembled monolayers are investigated. Thus, a combined surface treatment by laser polishing and functionalization with a dense self-assembled monolayer shall reduce overall adhesive wear. For this investigation, several specimens of conventional manufactured and powder metallurgical molten AISI D2 are laser polished using continuous or pulsed laser radiation or a combination of both. The resulting surfaces are investigated by microscopy and spectroscopic techniques to analyze the surface topography and the elemental distribution near to the surface. These results are compared to those of conventionally hand-polished specimens. Furthermore, the influence of the element homogenization and grain refinement on the area coverage of self-assembled monolayers is explored. First results show that laser polishing of AISI D2 is suitable to achieve a reduction of grain size and a more homogeneous distribution of chromium carbides within the surface layer.