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Wear 253 (2002) 650661

An experimental study to corelate water jet impingement erosion


resistance and properties of metallic materials and coatings
B.S. Mann , Vivek Arya
Surface Coatings and Treatment Laboratory, Corporate R&D Division, BHEL, Vikasnagar, Hyderabad 500093, India
Received 12 November 2001; received in revised form 10 April 2002; accepted 1 May 2002

Abstract
This paper describes the water jet impingement erosion characteristics of titanium alloy (Ti6 Al4 V), Hadfield steel, laser hardened, plasma
nitrided and pack borided 12Cr steel along with most commonly used steels in hydro turbines. Round samples as per ASTM G73-98 were
tested for water jet impingement erosion study. While testing, in the incubation period, plasma nitrided and pack borided 12Cr steel
performed much better than 12Cr and 13Cr4Ni steels. Plasma nitrided 12Cr steel performed much better than pack borided 12Cr steel.
This is due to the integrity of plasma nitrided layers and their ability to absorb shocks due to jet impingement. During incubation as well
as in the long run, Hadfield steel and laser hardened 12Cr steel performed exceptionally well followed by 17Cr4Ni PH steel. Based on
this experimental study, a suitable criterion based on ultimate resilience (UR) for metallic materials and a composite modified resilience
(CMR) for hard metallic coatings has been discussed. Water jet impingement erosion test results along with the mechanical properties of
materials and coatings, and their scanning electron microstructural details are reported in this paper.
2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Hydromachinery; Cavitation erosion; Plasma nitriding; Boronising; Laser hardening; Jet impingement erosion

1. Introduction
Despite tremendous developments in the hydroturbine
design and material improvements, liquid jet impingement
erosion still remains an unsolved problem. This phenomenon
occurs in various cases besides hydroturbine: (i) propellers,
hubs and rudders in case of ships, (ii) high speed pumps
of all types, (iii) regulators, valves and gate valves, (iv)
flow-measuring equipment like orifices, venturies, (v) sudden enlargements and bends, etc. It is essential to know the
mechanism of degradation of materials and identify a suitable material or coating to combat jet impingement erosion.
It has been assumed that the phenomenon of jet impingement
erosion and cavitation erosion is identical. For evaluating
the materials in cavitation erosion, ASTM G32, venturi and
rotating discs apparatus are used while for liquid jet impingement erosion, ASTM G73 is used. ASTM G32 is less expensive compared to other techniques. Due to the similarities in
the erosion pattern of both techniques, liquid jet impingement technique is preferred for coatings, elastomers and
brittle materials because various jet sizes can be used and

Corresponding author. Tel.: +91-40-3882332; fax: +91-40-3776320.


E-mail address: balbirl@bhelrnd.co.in (B.S. Mann).

these are quite effective for evaluating all types of materials


[1,2].
It has also been reported that the liquid jet impingement
test generally simulates the environmental conditions more
closely [2]. In the present study, the mechanism of degradation of materials due to liquid jet impingement erosion and
cavitation erosion has been discussed and compared.
Material removal in water jet impingement and cavitation erosion processes in various materials lead to the
identification of four primary modes by which water drop
impingement or cavitation erosion can produce damage in
materials. These are, direct deformation, stress wave propagation, lateral outflow jetting and hydraulic penetration.
The damage produced by one or more of these loading
conditions on a material surface exposed to a single or multiple water drop impact is responsible for initiating damage
and subsequent material removal [311]. The evaluation of
damage produced in target materials due to single water
drop loading cycle is a complex dynamic process, which
involves a number of closely phased actions. Several important properties of materials, such as material being cast,
forged, rolled, either in heat treated condition or having
hard protective layers/coatings play an important role to
combat impingement erosion [1220]. Among all these, the
hardness of material/protective layer of the coating plays

0043-1648/02/$ see front matter 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

a significant role. Martensitic stainless steels possess the


highest cavitation erosion resistance followed by austenitic
stainless steels while the ferritic steels have the lowest
cavitation erosion resistance.
Cast martensitic stainless steels (Fe, 1118% Cr, 0.58%
Ni, 29% Mn, 1% Si and 0.1% C) have high cavitation
erosion resistance and are suitable for use as turbine elements in hydroturbine power plants [21,22]. The application
of martensitic stainless steels for high speed components in
marine environments against cavitation damage is feasible
because of its high hardenability developed by suitable heat
treatment [21].
1.1. Cavitation-erosion correlation
It is reported that materials with different mechanical
properties exhibit varying degrees of cavitation erosion
resistance. Garcia and Hammitt [3] have proposed a correlation based on ultimate resilience (UR) which is definable
from a stressstrain diagram. UR is a combined material
property given by the area of the triangle obtained when
the yield point is raised to the level of ultimate tensile
strength (UTS), if E is the modulus of elasticity. UR is given
based on cavitation erosion experiments using a venturi
apparatus [3,4].
UR =

(UTS)2
2E

Another correlation has been proposed by Rao et al. [23]


which is based primarily on the strength and hardness of the
materials. The cavitation damage rates in standard materials
aluminium, copper, brass and stainless steels, for example,
were compared and test results were obtained using a rotating disk apparatus. The correlation proposed is based on
the modified ultimate resilience (MUR) and is given as,
MUR =

UTS hardness of substrate


2E

Thiruvengadam have proposed another correlation, based


on the energy absorption theory [24,25]. The cavitation damage rate versus the energy storage capacity of a material
was determined for various materials, by taking into account
the energy put into an erosion test rig minus the energy not
consumed in causing the damage (such as noise or heat). In
effect, this is the area under the curve in the stressstrain diagram up to the point of failure of materials. The theory appears to be valuable for comparing test results from various
materials under different test conditions. The results were
obtained using a magnetostriction vibratory method.
In a composite structure, such as a hard coating on a soft
substrate, one attempt to increase the length of the cavitation
incubation period is to combine the hardness of the coatings
with the UTS of the substrate. However, a pre-requisite is
the integrity of the coatings together with a high degree of
bonding to the substrate. A correlation based on composite

651

modified resilience (CMR) integrating base and coating is


given [20,26,27].
CMR =

UTS of the substrate hardness of the coating


2 Youngs modulus of the substrate

Diffused coatings or nitride layers produced either by chemical or physical vapour deposition are the techniques of
achieving such a composite structure as reported earlier [20].
Richman and McNaughton [16,17] have proposed a theory to correlate the cavitation erosion resistance based on
fatigue strength coefficient, f1 with an index of cyclic
stress resistance measurement. Explosive cladding of an
NiTi alloy with stainless steel is described as a cavitation erosion shield. The cavitation erosion mechanism was
confirmed by finite element modelling rather than by a
rational search for materials with requisite high fatigue
strength coefficient combined with a high cycling strain
hardening component. It was found that the NiTi alloy
has this property. Strong correlation was demonstrated
between cyclic deformation property rate and cavitation
erosion. The main determination of erosion resistance is
the fatigue strength coefficient (f1 ), which is a measure
of cyclic stress resistance. Material removal rate correlates well with the product of (f1 , n1 ), where n1 reflects
the cyclic strain resistance. The results are general over a
wide range of metal and alloys. Furthermore, this explains
why previous attempts to correlate cavitation erosion and
liquid droplet erosion behaviour with a single mechanical
or material property were unsuccessful. This is because
f 1 is strongly influenced by cyclic strain hardening.
Erosion behaviour is not simply related to any monotonic
property, such as true fracture stress or ultimate tensile stress.
The cavitation erosion studies based upon four cavitation
tunnels and four rotating disc apparatus, six vibratory test
rigs, one liquid jet and two cavitating jet techniques were
compared [1,2]. Theoretical and experimental predictions
of different materials for liquid impingement erosion at different velocities from different laboratories are also given.
The erosion resistance of different materials with a standard
material (stainless type 316) is also compared. The difference in the volume loss and standard deviation with regards
to their maximum erosion rate (depth of penetration) is also
reported. However, there are still gaps in the information
with regards to jet impingement erosion characteristics of
materials and coatings.
This paper presents data on water jet impingement erosion resistance of the various materials commonly used in
pumps and hydro turbines along with boronising, plasma
nitriding and surface hardening by laser. This also includes
erosion characteristics during initiation of damage. Based
upon the study, a suitable correlation between impingement
erosion resistance and mechanical properties was developed. The results of our recent findings regarding water jet
impingement erosion resistance of pack borided, plasma
nitrided and laser hardened 12Cr steel along with hydroturbine materials are reported.

652

B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

1.2. Surface modifications and coatings


1.2.1. Laser surface melting
Surface modification of martensitic stainless UNS S42000
and laser claded stainless steel using a 3.5 kW continuous
wave CO2 laser has been reported [28,29]. After laser surface hardening, the corrosion and cavitation erosion characteristics in 3.5% NaCl solution at 23 C were studied using
a 20 kHz ultrasonic vibrators at a peak to peak amplitude
of 30 m. The cavitation erosion resistance of laser melted
specimens using a power of 1.7 kW and a scanning speed
of 25 mm/s was reported 70 times that of the as received
(annealed) S42000 and 1.8 times that of conventionally heat
treated steel. The excellent cavitation erosion resistance was
due to the combined effect of a high volume fraction of retained austenite (89%) and at moderate hardness (450 Hv).
By using different processing parameters, it was found
that the cavitation erosion resistance of the laser melted
specimens increased with the increase in volume fraction of
retained austenite, a result attributable to the high martensitic transformability of the austenite in UNS 42000 steel.
On the other hand, cavitation erosion resistance increased
with the increase in hardness to a maximum value and then
dropped with further increase in hardness. This indicated that
martensitic transformability played a more important role
than hardness in cavitation erosion. Due to pitting potential
variation, the pits formed in the laser melted specimens were
shallower than those formed in as received and hardened
S42000 steel. The improvement in pitting corrosion resistance resulted from the dissolution or refinement of carbide
particles and the presence of retained austenite, as evidenced
by the fact that the pitting potential increased linearly with
the amount of retained austenite [28]. Laser surface melting
(LSM) for improving the cavitation erosion resistance by
means of a continuous Nd:YAG laser has been attempted on
austenitic stainless steels UNS S31603 and UNS S30400,
and super duplex stainless steel UNS S32760 [29]. It is reported that the cavitation erosion resistance of the laser surface melted stainless steels was found to be highly dependent
on the microstructural changes and the residual stress in the
laser melted layer. The cavitation erosion resistance of UNS
S31603 was improved only by 22% after LSM. The low
carbon content present in these stainless steels limits their
hardenability, and hence, limits the beneficial effect of LSM.
1.2.2. Plasma nitriding
Plasma nitriding is a modern technique of surface hardening of metallic components to improve their service life.
Nitriding processes based upon solid, liquid and gas treatment have been traditionally used, which however, suffers
from several drawbacks. Plasma nitriding overcomes them
and moreover, it has replaced the conventional process in
industry. Basically, the plasma nitriding is a glow discharge
process in a mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen gases. The
apparatus consists of a vacuum chamber, a gas handling
system and a high voltage power supply. First, the vacuum

vessel is evacuated using a mechanical pump to a base


pressure of 101 Torr then a nitrogen and hydrogen mixture is introduced into the chamber through a valve and
filled up to a few Torr. A high voltage is established between the grounded vessel and the sample to be nitrided
which is made negative. By adjusting the high voltage, it
is possible to control the current density, which in turn
controls the nitriding temperature. The main advantages of
plasma nitriding over conventional nitriding processes are;
reduced cycle time, controlled growth of the surface layer,
elimination of white layer, reduced distortion, no need for
finishing (grinding, machining, etc.), pore-free surfaces and
mechanical masks instead of copper plating.
Plasma nitriding is extensively covered in [3034]. The
nitrided layers consist of FeN, Fe2 N, Fe3 N, Fe2 N3 , Fe3 N4
diffused layers. The diffused layers range from tens of microns to hundred of microns, and these are ideal for improving the wear resistance. By optimising the nitrogen and
hydrogen ratio, it is possible to either eliminate some of the
layers or to improve the erosion/corrosion properties.
1.2.3. Boronisation
Boronised steels have effectively improved their performance in adhesive, sliding and abrasive wear. Boronising is
very effective, especially on low alloy steel, chrome-moly
steel and cobalt-based alloys. An improvement in abrasive
wear of boronised steels of order of 400500% has been
reported. In fact, pack borided 12% Cr steel, for steam turbine nozzle has performed exceptionally well and surpassed
all other coatings including plasma nitriding and detonation sprayed coatings [35]. Not much data is available on
boronised 12Cr and cast 17Cr4Ni PH steel applicable to
impingement erosion. Some data on boronised 817M40
steel (equivalent to EN 24) in a cavitating environment is
available [36]. It is reported that it has not performed well.
The reasons for its adverse performance have not been
investigated. Some information on the adversely affecting
of the mechanical properties, especially the toughness and
cavitation erosion resistance has been reported [27].
2. Experimental techniques
2.1. Properties of materials and coatings
The mechanical properties viz. UTS, % elongation, UR
of the metallic materials and hard coatings were determined
by using a 250 kN static and dynamic MTS servo hydraulic universal testing machine. For this purpose, round
samples were fabricated as per Annual Book of ASTM
Standards 1978, Part 6 of E-8. The metallic materials and
hard coatings, such as stainless steel (18:8), stainless steel
(13:4), stainless steel (17:4 PH), Hadfield steels along with
borided and plasma nitrided steels were studied. Table 1
gives their composition. The mechanical properties were
correlated with the jet impingement erosion resistance. The

B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661


Table 1
Various materials used for testing
Materials

Composition (wt.%)

12Cr AS
ST AS
13Cr4Ni
MDN AS

0.10 C, 12.1 Cr, 0.6 Si, 0.70 Mn, balance Fe


0.20 C, 12.0 Cr, 0.5 Si, 0.50 Mn, 0.5Ni, balance Fe
0.058 C, 12.06 Cr, 0.5 Si, 0.5.Mn, 3.85Ni, balance Fe
0.06 C, 15.67 Cr, 0.27 Si, 0.64 Mn,
4.25 Ni, 3.6 Cu, 0.19 Nb, balance Fe
1.20 C, 12.0 Mn, 0.6Si, balance Fe
6Al, 4V, balance Ti

Hadfield
Ti6 Al4 V

Table 2
Mechanical properties of different coatings
Coatings

Fracture
toughness
(MPa m1/2 )

Plasma nitrided
12Cr steel
Pack boronised
12Cr steel
Laser hardened
12Cr steel

4.55.0

9421000

1.79

4.04.5

18002000

3.16

500650

0.945

Microhardness
(HV)

Composite
resilience

micro-hardness of the coated steels was measured using


Leitzs micro-hardness tester by applying a load of 2.942 N.
The micro-hardness values are given in Table 2.
2.2. Analysis of materials and coatings
Scanning electron micrographs (SEMs) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis of coated and uncoated materials were
carried out using Leica Electron Optics SEM and Philips
Expert XRD system, respectively.
2.3. Plasma nitriding
Plasma nitriding was carried out using 15 kV plasma nitriding reactor. This is because plasma nitriding ranks among
the top accepted and extensively used technologies. Plasma
nitriding is extensively covered in the literature [3037].
The test specimens were nitrided for 48 h to obtain a layer
thickness of 250 m at 545 C in a nitrogen and hydrogen
atmosphere and then were slowly cooled in a nitrogen atmosphere after nitriding. This is to avoid formation of oxides
during cooling. The following plasma nitriding parameters
were recorded while nitriding.
Voltage (V)
N2 /H2 ratio
Current density (mA/cm2 )
Partial pressure (Torr)
Hydrogen flow rate (l/min)
Temperature ( C)
Work piece
Total time of nitriding (h)
Holding time at 545 C (h)

648700
65/35
12.25
2.44.5
1
545575
Cathode
48
40

653

Steels used for nitriding were 17Cr4Ni PH steel of composition 0.06% C, 15.67% Cr, 0.64% Mn, 0.27% Si, 4.25%
Ni, 0.04% P, 0.03% S, 3.6% Cu, and balance Fe and 12Cr
steel of composition, 0.12% C, 13.20% Cr, 0.55% Ni, 0.55%
Mn, 0.30% Si and balance Fe (refer Table 1).
2.4. Boronising
The boronising of the 12CR AS steel was done using a
pack cementation technique. The steel samples to be boronised were cleaned with acetone in ultrasonic equipment,
dried and packed in the boronising pack mixture in a steel
box. The steel box was sealed using a copper washer between the box and the cover. The packed steel box was
heated in an electric furnace (250 C/h), held at a temperature of 930 5 C for 4 h and then forced air-cooled.
After boronising, all the steel samples were thoroughly
cleaned before testing and were tempered at 650 C for
6 h. All these samples were subjected to XRD analysis.
This revealed the presence of FeB and Fe2 B phases. The
latter was dominant. The thickness of boronised steel was
measured using an optical microscope and was in the range
5560 m. An upper layer of 100 m, including 5560 m
of boronised layer, was removed by grinding. XRD analysis
of this sample was also carried out. The analysis did not
show the presence of metallic carbide, thus, eliminating the
chances of carburising while boronising.
2.5. Liquid impingement erosion resistance
of different coatings
A liquid jet impingement erosion test facility has been
designed and fabricated. After establishing the accuracy
of results similar to those reported in ASTM G73-98, this
facility has been used for testing of materials/coatings. The
test facility consists of a chamber of diameter 700 mm and
a round disc on which the test samples are fixed on the periphery. Details of the facility are given in Fig. 1. The disc is
rotated at 4575 rpm to obtain the test sample tangential velocity of 147.0 m/s. Two water jets impinge on the cylindrical test samples and cause impingement erosion. The cylindrical specimens were selected because the impingement
erosion on actual turbine blades occurs at the leading edge.
A precision balance to an accuracy of 0.1 mg was used
for measurement of weight loss occurring after a certain test
duration. The test duration was selected in such a way that
steady-state impingement erosion occurred. The accuracy of
the results has been confirmed using a reference 12Cr steel.
The standard deviation and resulting accuracy are also given.
The deviation and accuracy lie within specified accuracy
data available from different laboratories [8]. The results
have been plotted as commutative erosiontime curve on
co-ordinate of mean depth of erosion versus time. The depth
of erosion is calculated from the weight loss divided by the
density of the coatings and the materials. The test results are
given in Fig. 2.

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B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

Fig. 1. Water jet impingement erosion test facility.

Fig. 2. Volume loss vs. time for different materials and coatings.

B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

Experimental test conditions:


Water jet size (mm)
Water jet velocity (m/s)
Test sample size, (mm)
Number of specimens used
Test duration (h)
Radius of the specimen (mm)
Exposed area of specimen (cm2 )
Jet distance (mm)
Angle of impingement ( )
Impact frequency (cycle/s)
Experimental accuracy (%)
Chamber pressure (atm)
Water temperature ( C)

4.24
20.166
12.70 40
12
7
6.375
0.785
100
90
78
21.25
1
30

3. Results and discussion


3.1. Scanning electron micrographs
Scanning electron microstructures of the eroded samples
are given in Figs. 310. From the micrographs, it is seen that
the damage mechanism of 12Cr AS, ST AS, and 13Cr4Ni
AS steels is identical and all these materials are failing due
to formation of pits due to cleavage. The cleavage damage
in 13Cr4Ni AS steel is slightly less compared to the other
two steels. The hard-coated steels, such as 12Cr PN, and
12Cr BN have failed in brittle mode. This is clear from
grain removal in 12Cr BN and 12Cr PN. All these hard
coatings are very effective in delaying incubation period.
Among these, plasma nitrided 12Cr steel is very effective.
This is because the nitrided steel is more tough and ductile
compared to the boronised steel (Table 3). It is also seen from
the micrographs that there is an oxide layer formation and

655

this layer is removed due to erosion. In plasma nitrided and


boronised steel, the percentage of chromium is reduced due
to the formation of chromium nitride and chromium boride,
respectively, and so the resistance to corrosion is reduced. It
is also seen from the micrographs that 12Cr BN structure is
very fine. However, it erodes significantly more. The borided
layers lack the UTS (Table 3). The grain morphology of
MDN AS, MDN PN, MDN HT and ST HT is identical
and similar. MDN HT is the finest among all these followed
by MDN AS, MDN PN and ST HT. Because of this
MDN HT has performed much better than other steels. The
MDN series (MDN AS, MDN PN and MDN HT) erode
in the ductile mode in a similar way to that of 12Cr steel.
No oxide deposits were seen on ST HT, MDN AS, MDN
PN and MDN HT, Ti6 Al4 V and 12Cr LH (Figs. 710)
confirming that corrosion does not contribute to erosion for
these materials. SEM of Ti6 Al4 V shows that the grains are
fine, so its performance is also similar to MDN series. The
micrographs of 12Cr LH are similar to ST HT. After
20 h of testing, the damages on Hadfield steel are negligible.
Only water droplet marks are seen on this steel (Fig. 10).
After long exposure, deep microtunnels confirming microjetting effects similar to cavitation erosion were observed
in these steels, whereas in MDN series, 12Cr LH and
ST HT these deep microtunnels confirming microjetting
effects are not observed. Deep microtunnel confirming microjetting effects may appear after a long duration. None
of the steels have failed due to fatigue. This confirms that
the mechanism of jet impingement erosion and cavitation
differs on this aspect.
3.2. Properties of materials and coatings
Tables 24 give the properties of all the materials and
coatings. All these properties are measured using tensile

Fig. 3. Scanning electron microstructure of eroded 12Cr AS steel, 400.

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B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

Fig. 4. Scanning electron microstructure of eroded 12Cr PN steel, 400.

and hardness testing machines. From the properties, the


best property which has given an excellent correlation with
impingement erosion resistance is UR as well as MUR
(product of UTS and hardness). As the UTS of the bulk
steels varies linearly with hardness the UR and MUR represent the same property of the steels. The properties of
plasma nitrided, pack borided steels are given in Table 2. It
is difficult to adopt a simple criterion based on hardness of
surface coatings as information on other properties, such as
UTS, hardness, modified resilience, fracture strength, etc.
of surface coatings is not available. A suitable index, i.e.
CMR as reported earlier correlates the hardness of the coating and mechanical properties of the base steels [26]. The
CMR values for the coatings studied are given in Table 2. It
is also seen from Tables 24 that other properties, such as
toughness and yield strength of bulk materials do not play

a significant role either in delaying the incubation period or


improving liquid impingement erosion resistance. However,
in coated steel, the toughness and hardness have played
significant roles. Due to these properties, plasma nitrided
steel has performed much better than borided steel.
3.3. X-ray diffraction test results
Formation of nitride and boride phase in plasma nitrided
and borided steels has also been confirmed by XRD analysis.
The details of XRD analysis are reported elsewhere [27,37].
3.4. Liquid impingement erosion test results
The erosion test results of different coatings along with
stainless steels are given in Fig. 2. It is seen from this figure

Fig. 5. Scanning electron microstructure of eroded 12Cr BN steel, 400.

B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

657

Fig. 6. Scanning electron microstructure of eroded ST HT steel, 400.

that excellent performance is given by Hadfield steel and


laser-hardened 12CR steel. Kwok et al. [28] has reported
that excellent resistance to cavitation erosion in case of laser
treated AISI 420 was due to the retention of austenitic phase
and complete dissolution of carbides. The austenitic phase
has an excellent characteristic of absorbing cavitation bubble collapse energy and later on the austenite is converted
into martensitic phase. Conversion of austenitic phase into
martensitic phase has induced compressive stresses on the
surface, which are beneficial to cavitation erosion. Evidence
of transformation of austenitic phase into martensitic phase
after cavitation was also observed. The potentiodynamic
polarisation studies showed that the pitting corrosion is low
in laser treated steel because laser hardening has resulted in
complete dissolution of carbide [28]. The corrosion studies carried out on different volume fractions of retained

austentic also prove that corrosion rate decreased linearly


with increased volume fraction of retained austenitic phase
during laser hardening. Based upon Kwoks observations,
the laser hardening studies were limited to a narrow power
density in the range of 17402400 W/(cm2 s) and after conducting all these tests, it is confirmed that a laser power
of 2120 W/(cm2 s) is ideal for laser hardening for this
application.
It is also known that mechanical properties of materials
and coatings, such as UTS, modified resilience, binding energy and crystal structure play a crucial role in determining
the cavitation erosion resistance. Feller and Kharrazi [19]
have shown that the higher the yield strength and crystal
binding energy of a material, the longer is the cavitation
incubation period. While criteria available for grading cavitation erosion resistance are applicable to bulk materials

Fig. 7. Scanning electron microstructure of eroded MDN HT steel, 400.

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B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

Fig. 8. Scanning electron microstructure of eroded Ti6 Al4 V alloy, 400.

only, there is very little phenomenological knowledge about


surface coatings on substrates. In composite structures, the
hardness of coating combined with the ultimate strength of
the substrate enhances the incubation period. Diffused coatings produced either by chemical vapour deposition or by
plasma nitriding are the techniques for achieving such composite structures as reported by Frees [20]. From Fig. 2, it is
seen that plasma nitrided 12Cr steel, 12Cr LH followed by
12Cr BN have performed excellent during the incubation
period. Later on after a long duration, plasma nitrided as
well as pack boronised steels have started behaving in a similar manner to 12Cr steel. Though the pack boronised 12Cr
steel has a greater hardness and CMR than plasma nitrided
12Cr steel but it shows an improved liquid impingement re-

sistance in comparison to plasma nitrided steel. The jet impingement erosion resistance for all the coated and uncoated
steels has been plotted with time and is given in Fig. 2. The
grain morphology of MDN AS, MDN PN, MDN HT
and ST HT is identical. MDN HT is the finest among
all these followed by MDN AS, MDN PN and ST HT.
Because of this MDN HT has performed much better than
the other steels. Crystal structure plays a crucial role in determining the liquid impingement similar to the cavitation
erosion resistance, as reported by Feller and Kharrazi [19]
in the case of cavitation erosion.
The plasma nitrided steels have eroded by smooth removal
of the hard layer without initiation of cracks and chipping of
the coating. The impingement erosion resistance of diffused

Fig. 9. Scanning electron microstructure of eroded 12Cr LH steel, 400.

B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

659

Fig. 10. Scanning electron microstructure of eroded Hadfield steel, 400.


Table 3
Mechanical properties of different coatings and materials
Materials/coated
materials 157.3

Yield strength
(N mm2 )

Ultimate tensile
(N mm2 )

Hardness
(HV)

Elongation
(%)

Ultimate resilience
(J cm3 )

Strain energy
(J cm3 )

Impact
strength (J)

12Cr AS
12Cr BN
12Cr PN
ST AS
ST HT
13/4 AS
MDN AS
MDN PN
MDN HT
Ti6 Al4 V
Hadfield

464.79
462.0
448.0
721.0
1134.0
813.2
863.49
1162.00
1305.09
850
369

720.45
666.0
740.00
876.0
1562.7
892.20
1224.28
1244.0
1448.68
874
833.3

200210
18002000
9421000
300350
450500
300310
365380
750900
450460
330350
202450a

26.98
18.0
13.87
23.17
15.6
14.8
13.44
12.63
13.04
13
47.5

1.23
1.05a
1.30a
1.83
5.78
1.90
3.577
3.69a
5.0
3.17
1.658.18

157.3
78.02
85.7
164.3
197.27
112.1
139.68
133.38
160.3
96.0
336.0

153
38.8
131
93.0
46.2
78.0
112.0
62.0
38
65
142

The 12Cr AS was in an annealed condition. The ST AS was in a forged condition and later on stress relieved at 250 C for 4 h. The ST HT was in
forged condition and heat treated at 950 c for 1 h followed by water quenching and later on stress relieved at 250 C for 4 h. The 13/4 AS was in as
cast condition and later on stress relieved at 250 C for 4 h. The MDN AS was in forged condition and later on stress relieved at 250 C for 4 h. The
MDN HT was in as cast condition and later on aged at 490 C for 3 h. The titanium alloy was in forged condition and later on heat treated at 950 C
for 1 h followed by water quenching and aged to 535 C for 6 h.
a Samples showed reduction in UTS, elongation and impact strength after coating. This has earlier been reported in case of boronising [27].

Table 4
Mechanical properties of different materials
Materials

Hardness
(HV)

Modified
resilience (HV)

Impact
strength (J)

12Cr AS
ST AS
ST HT
13/4 AS
MDN AS
MDN HT
Ti6 Al4 V
Hadfield

200210
300350
450500
300310
365380
450460
330350
202450a

0.369
0.712
1.86
0.68
1.13
1.68
1.29
0.4282.08

153
93.0
46.2
78.0
112.0
38
65
142

Samples showed reduction in UTS, elongation and impact strength


after coating. This has earlier been reported in case of boronising [27].

hard coatings can be explained on the basis that microjets


formed by breaking a big jet into small jets cannot penetrate the hard coatings easily. It is clear that while the
UTS, strain energy, elongation and fracture strength of coatings are less than those of the substrate, the hardness of
the coatings is much higher. The significant improvement
in the incubation period of coated substrates indicate that
the hardness of coatings has a crucial role to play in their
performance. Catastrophic damage after the incubation period in a composite system follows the trends observed for
hard and brittle materials, such as tungsten carbide and
Haynes alloy 6B [5]. The incubation period and ranking of
the coatings and materials after long duration are given in
Tables 5 and 6.

660

B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

4. Conclusions

Table 5
Incubation period of different coatings/materials
Coatings/materials

Incubation period (h)

12Cr AS
ST AS
13/4 AS
12Cr BN
Ti6 Al4 V
MDN PN
MDN AS
ST HT
12Cr PN
MDN HT
12Cr LH
Hadfield

1
2
3
4
4
4
4
5
5
7
>7
>7

Jet size = 4.24 mm.

It is reported that the fatigue strength coefficient and strain


hardening have a strong correlation with the cavitation erosion behaviour of all types of materials [16,17]. However, in
our microstructures, fatigue cracks were not observed even
after long duration tests (7 h). So the theory of material removal based upon cyclic stress strain does not hold good
in jet impingement erosion. Due to the high frequency involved in cavitation erosion [38] fatigue strength coefficient
and strain hardening play a significant role. It is also seen
from the Table 3 that Hadfield steel followed by ST HT
and MDN series, has the highest ultimate resistance. So a
correlation of metallic materials based on UR as proposed
by Hammitt and co-workers for cavitation erosion is also a
valid criterion for liquid impingement erosion [4]. A metallic material having higher UR has excellent liquid impingement erosion resistance. On the other hand the strain energy
theory as proposed by Thiruvengadam and Waring [24] for
cavitation erosion does not hold good for jet impingement
erosion. The results from the 12Cr steel contradicts the proposed theory. (Table 3). CMR helps in delaying incubation
period and later, the UR of the bulk material comes into
picture.

Table 6
Volume loss and ranking of different coatings/materials after 7 h
Coating/materials

Ranking

Volume loss (mm3 )

12Cr AS
ST AS
13/4AS
ST HT
12Cr BN
12Cr PN
Ti6 Al4 V
MDN PN
MDN AS
MDN HT
12Cr LH
Hadfield

12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

43.46
7.58
2.37
1.77
1.34
1.26
1.16
0.30
0.30
0.09
0.01
0

Jet size = 4.24 mm.

The following conclusions can be drawn from the experimental study.


1. To correlate water jet impingement erosion resistance
and mechanical properties of metallic materials, the UR
appears to be a valid criterion. Due to this criterion, Hadfield steel, MDN series and ST HT and ST AS have
performed much better than other steels. The impingement erosion resistance of Hadfield steel were found to
be excellent among various stainless steels during the all
stages of impingement erosion.
2. Scaling due to corrosion was visually observed in the
case of boronised and plasma nitrided steels but no such
effect was observed in the case of other stainless steels.
3. Laser hardened 12Cr steel has also shown excellent performance in jet impingement erosion. This is due to the
retention of higher austenitic phase and complete dissolution of carbides as reported by Kwok et al. in cavitation
erosion [28]. The austenitic phase has excellent characteristics of absorbing the water impact shocks. Later,
it is converted into the martensitic phase. Conversion
of austenitic phase into martensitic phase has induced
compressive stresses on the surface, which are beneficial
to jet impingement erosion.
4. The significant improvement in the incubation period
of plasma nitrided and borided steels indicate that the
hardness of coatings has a crucial role to play in their
performance. Catastrophic damages after the incubation
period in hard coated steel follows the trends observed
for hard and brittle materials. The plasma nitrided
steels have eroded by smooth removal of the hard layer
without initiation of cracks and chipping off of the
coating.
5. From the micrographs, it is seen that after long exposure,
deep microtunnels confirming to microjetting effects
similar to cavitation erosion mechanism are observed
in 12Cr AS, ST AS, and 13Cr4Ni steels, whereas in
MDN series, 12Cr LH and ST HT, these deep microtunnels confirming microjetting effects are not observed.
Deep microtunnels confirming microjetting effects may
appear after a long duration.
6. The microstructures of all the metallic materials and
coatings are free from fatigue cracks. This proves that the
fatigue strength coefficient and strain hardening criterion
as reported by Richman and McNaughton for cavitation erosion does not hold good in liquid impingement
erosion [16,17].

Acknowledgements
The authors are thankful to Mr. Pankaj Joshi for his help
in experimentation. Authors are also thankful to the management of Corporate Research & Development Division,

B.S. Mann, V. Arya / Wear 253 (2002) 650661

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, for granting permission


to publish this paper.
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