The growth of single Fe2B phase on low carbon steel via phase homogenization in electrochemical boriding (PHEB)

Kartal G., Timur S. İ., SISTA V., ERYILMAZ O. L., ERDEMIR A.

SURFACE & COATINGS TECHNOLOGY, vol.206, no.7, pp.2005-2011, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 206 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2011.08.049
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.2005-2011
  • Keywords: Boriding, Molten salts electrolysis, Surface hardening, FeB, Fe2B, LASER-SURFACE MODIFICATION, LAYER, DIFFUSION, BEHAVIOR
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In this study, we introduce a new electrochemical boriding method that results in the formation of a single-phase Fe2B layer on low carbon steel substrates. Although FeB phase is much harder and more common than Fe2B in all types of boriding operations, it has very poor fracture toughness; hence, it can fracture or delaminate easily from the surface under high normal or tangential loading. We call the new method "phase homogenization in electrochemical boriding" (PHEB), in which carbon steel samples undergo electrochemical boriding for about 15 min at 950 degrees C in a molten electrolyte consisting of 90% borax and 10% sodium carbonate, then after the electrical power to the electrodes is stopped, the samples are left in the bath for an additional 45 min without any polarization. The typical current density during the electrochemical boriding is about 200 mA/cm(2). The total original thickness of the resultant boride layer after 15 min boriding was about 60 mu m (consisting of 201 mu m FeB layer and 40 mu m Fe2B layer); however, during the additional phase homogenization period of 45 min, the thickness of the boride layer increased to 75 mu m and consisted of only Fe2B phase, as confirmed by glancing-angle x-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy in backscattering mode. The microscopic characterization of the boride layers revealed a dense, homogeneous, thick boride layer with microhardness of about 16 GPa. The fracture behavior and adhesion of the boride layer were evaluated by the Daimler-Benz Rockwell C test and found to be excellent, i.e., consistent with an HF1 rating. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.