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Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765 – 2774


A study on the characteristics of electrical discharge

textured skin pass mill work roll
Oktay Elkoca ⁎
Research and Development Department, Eregli Iron and Steel Works Inc., 67330 Eregli, Zonguldak, Turkey
Received 24 April 2007; accepted in revised form 8 October 2007
Available online 16 October 2007


Electrical discharge texturing induces a recast white layer on the skin pass mill work roll surface, which forms the surface topography required
for outer autobody steel strips and a heat-affected zone beneath it. The characteristics of these thermally influenced layers were studied by means
of optical and scanning electron microscopes, X-ray diffractometer, radio frequency-glow discharge optical emission spectrometer and
microhardness tester. It was found that the electrical discharge texturing led to a dramatic hardness drop in the white layer, which was attributed to
the high amount of retained austenite. Moreover, softening was observed in over tempered section within heat-affected zone. Sub-zero and
cryogenic treatments seem to be potential methods in order to restore the hardness of white layer and over tempered zone with an increase in both.
Additionally, de-ionised water was found to be a promising dielectric liquid to abstain from retained austenite.
© 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Electrical discharge texturing; White layer; Retained austenite; Softening

1. Introduction Electrical discharge texturing (EDT) is an adaptation of formerly

established electrical discharge machining (EDM) to steel industry
The strict demands of consumers on the cold rolled steel in order to meet the demands for roll surfaces [2,3]. Basically EDM
products dictate controlled topographical surface characteristics is an eroding and removing process of the material from the surface
regarding formability and appearance. The key point to satisfy by transient action of electric sparks, commonly used to produce
these characteristics is the production of sheet metal with a die cavities. In EDT, this process is achieved by applying
predefined texture, which is imparted to the surface by the use consecutive spark discharges between a rotating roll and electrodes
of textured rolls in both tandem and skin pass mills. moving in radial direction, which are separated by a small gap in
The textured surfaces play an important role in the hydrocarboneous based dielectric liquid. In both process, each
manufacturing of outer auto body panels [1,2]. During forming spark melts and even evaporates a small amount of material due to
process, craters formed in the textured surface can provide a good the high local temperatures. Then, all evaporated and a fraction of
reservoir for lubricating oil and, if they are produced randomly, the melted material removed from the surface due to flushing action
the textured surface would exhibit a uniform reflectivity after of the dielectric liquid. The result is a small crater on the surface that
painting. Therefore, dense and deeper craters on the textured has a rapidly re-solidified layer. Successive discharges at high
surface will improve the functional and aesthetical behaviour of frequencies produce many randomly placed overlapping craters.
the sheet metal. Average arithmetic roughness (Ra) and peak The shape and the depth of the craters, which determine the surface
count in peaks per cm (Pc) are two well-known parameters to roughness of the rolls, depend mainly on the operational parameters
define such a surface. High peak counts with constrained average such as discharge current, discharge duration, and polarity used [4–
surface roughness are the essentials for outer auto body panels [3]. 6]. Compared with traditional shot blasting texturing, EDT allows
higher number of peaks at constrained average surface roughness,
which can be obtained in a higher repeatability.
⁎ Tel.: +90 372 3293452. EDM induces a characteristic recast layer at the top region
E-mail address: oelkoca@erdemir.com.tr. which is subjected to a surface tensile stress regime [7–9], micro
0257-8972/$ - see front matter © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
2766 O. Elkoca / Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765–2774

cracking [9–12], porosity formation [13,14], localized hardening Table 2

[9], incidental alloying with the pyrolysis products of cracked EDT test parameters
dielectric [11,15–17] and tool electrodes [11,18,19]. Although Band Discharge time Off-time Average current Average energy
both EDT and EDM are similar in principle, the higher discharge (μs) (μs) (A) (A⁎ s)
current and the longer discharge duration in EDM, which means A 12 25 15 1.80 ⁎ 10− 4
higher input discharge energy, lead to longer reaction-time, slower B 17 40 28 4.76 ⁎ 10− 4
C 45 50 15 6.75 ⁎ 10− 4
cooling rate, thus giving a thicker recast layer and more chance
of absorbing carbon and electrode material. Rebelo et al. [12]
reported that microcrack formation was associated with the
development of high thermal stresses exceeding the ultimate of bulk material, presence of any allotropic changes and electrical
tensile strength of the material, as well as with plastic deformation. parameters used [9,10,18,20,21]. Cusanelli et al. [22] reported
Furthermore, the microcraks penetrate into the recast layer and that HAZ was composed of tempered martensite and was the
extend to depths, depending on the discharge energy. origin of microcraks. Rebelo et al. [12] identified two zones in
Recast layer is known as white layer (WL) due to its resist- HAZ machined in rough regimes for two initial states of steels: a
ance to conventional metallographic reagents. The shape, thick- quenched and tempered layer for quenched and tempered steels,
ness and morphology of the WL depend on base material [9], and a quenched and treated layer for annealed steels. In polished
tool electrode [8,18], dielectric liquid used [8], and electrical regimes of machining, one zone was distinguished: a tempered
parameters selected during machining [10,13,20,21]. Lloyd and layer for quenched and tempered steels; and a treated layer for
Warren [18] obtained a fused outer zone consisting of dendritic annealed steels. Ghanem et al. [9] observed a quenched layer
austenite and a cementite-austenite eutectic, when machining following a thin transition layer in case of hardenable steel, and
with a graphite electrode and in paraffin dielectric under severe only a slight growth of grain size under the WL in case of non-
operating conditions, or a fully austenitic surface followed by an hardenable steel.
austenite-cementite matrix, when machining with a copper Electrical discharging process can significantly affect
electrode under less severe conditions. Optiz [10] reported a hardness, wear, fatigue, and corrosion resistance [17,18,25].
hypereutectic recast layer in hot forging steel. Massarelli and Since EDMed surfaces contain microcracks and residual tensile
Marchionelli [8] reported similar structure of carbides in an stress, components operating under tensile loading exhibit a
austenite matrix, but proposed that different electrodes do not reduced fatigue life. On the contrary, an increase in fatigue life
change the morphology of the white layer; only the ratio of the has been experienced with the components operating under
carbide and the austenite phases varies. Cusanelli et al. [22] compressive loading such as in drop forging dies. Therefore in
reported that the white layer machined in dielectric oil presents some circumstances, the recast layer is removed by etching and
dendritic and columnar structures with different sizes and it hand polishing or modified by shot peening after EDM.
essentially consisted of retained austenite with some martensite A WL, which is expected to be harder than the bulk work-
sublayers and an austenitic columnar structure with a very thin piece due to the rapid solidification, would be utilized for roll
thickness located at the WL-HAZ interface. As reported by Lee applications requiring wear resistance since the wear charac-
et al. [23], WL was about the same for the four types of tool steels teristic of a roll surface is the key factor to determine the roll
investigated under identical discharge conditions. However, performance. The permanence time in mill and the mileage of
intermediate recast layers, which was below the WL, consisted the rolled strips are the results of the resistance to the loss of
of cellular dendrites and long dendrite arms depending on the roughness on the roll surface.
type of tool steels. Ghanem et al. [9] observed a dendritic Although there are many investigations on the microstructural
structure on the cross sections of the hardenable and non- alterations and their effects on the mechanical properties in EDMed
hardenable steels machined in hydrocarbon oil using rough parts, it is very rare for the EDTed ones. Similar microstructural
mode, yet it was not visible at low energy settings. Cabanillas et alterations would be expected in the heat-affected layers of EDTed
al. [24] found two different regimes of carbide formation: e- rolls, due to its thermal nature despite of the fact of a significant
carbide, retained austenite and martensite for discharge of progress in surface topography. Therefore, the purpose of the
energy below 0.5 J and cementite, retained austenite and traces present study is to elucidate the microstructural alterations and
of martensite, Fe7C3, or Fe5C2 for higher spark energies on the mechanical variations regarding hardness in thermally affected
pure iron in hydrocarbon dielectrics. layers beneath the EDTed roll surface. Also, the effect of sub-zero
Beneath WL, there is a heat-affected zone (HAZ) where the and cryogenic treatments on the restoration of alterated sublayers
emerged heat is not enough to cause melting, but is sufficiently and the use of de-ionised water substituting for dielectric oil in
high to induce microstructural transformations. The depth of HAZ terms of required surface topography were investigated.
is controlled by the thermal diffusivity, the heat treatment history
2. Experimental procedure
Table 1
Chemical composition of the roll material (wt.%) 2.1. EDT experiments
C Si Mn Cr Mo Ni Fe
Experimental studies were conducted on the basis of a work
0.86 0.56 0.50 3.42 0.31 0.18 Balance
roll, which had been used for skin passing of the galvanized
O. Elkoca / Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765–2774 2767

Table 3 Some samples extracted from the ground roll and textured in
EDM test parameters de-ionised water using Furkan 25A-conventional die-sinking
Sample Discharge time Off-time Average current Average energy type EDM machine, which has a transistor type signal generator.
(μs) (μs) (A) (A⁎ s) The texturing parameters were selected in order of providing a
1 25 50 25 6.25 ⁎ 10− 4 surface topography resembling the band B (Table 3).
2 12 50 25 3.00 ⁎ 10− 4
2.2. Subsequent treatments

steel strips. The chemical composition of electro-slag remelted, Tempering, sub-zero and cryogenic treatments were applied
forged, induction hardened and eventually tempered of the work to the samples to reveal the effects of these treatments after
roll is given in Table 1. EDT. The sub-zero treatment was carried out at − 70 °C for 24 h
The roll surface was first ground and then textured by with Herzog RL 10 CH refrigerated circulators using refriger-
Roltex-Sarclad Ltd.'s industrial type EDT machine, which has ated alcohol and a calibrated K-type digital thermocouple. The
transistorised type pulse generators, using a high phosphorous cryogenic treatment was performed by dipping the EDTed
copper electrode and Esso Somentor 43 dielectric oil. Three samples into liquid nitrogen for 24 h. The tempering processes
different textured bands denoted A, B, and C on the same roll were carried out at 200 °C for 1 h in Memmert laboratory type
were produced under the test parameters shown in Table 2, oven.
which had been established in the industrial trials in order to
obtain required surface texture on the galvanized steel strip for 2.3. Examinations
outer auto body panels. All the bands were machined under
positive polarity with the same roll surface speed of 8 mm/min Ra and Pc values of each EDTed band were measured with a
and axial feed rate of 30 mm/min. The disks representing each portable Mahr Perthometer M2 profilometer using evaluation
textured band were cut from the roll using a cutting saw. A length of 12.5 mm, cut-off length of 2.5 mm and peak count
precision cut-off disc was used to extract small samples for setting level of 0.5 μm. The results are the average of minimum
analytical examinations. 20 readings.

Fig. 1. Surface topography of the band (a) A, (b) B, (c) C, and (d) the sample textured in de-ionised water.
2768 O. Elkoca / Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765–2774

Table 4 Table 5
Ra and Pc values of the ground roll, the band A, B and C, and the required ones Surface roughness measurements of the EDMed sample
Band Ra (μm) Pc (1/cm) Sample Ra (μm) Pc (1/cm)
Ra 3.60–3.90 81–89 Ra 3.60–3.90 81–89
Gb 0.66 96 1 2.94 61
A 1.91 110 2 2.58 87
B 3.69 82 a
Required values.
C 4.08 67
Required values.
b phases were identified from searches in the database of Joint
Ground roll surface.
Committee on Powder Diffraction Standards.

3. Results
Topographical observations were performed using a Jeol
JSM-5600 scanning electron microscope (SEM). For micro- 3.1. Surface texture
structural observations, samples were prepared using conven-
tional metallographic technique on the cross and taper sections, The high temperature gradients within discharge incident
which the later were inclined approximately 7° to the roll area and violent explosive removal process produced randomly
surface. The polished sections were etched with Nital 3 and a overlapped craters on the all surfaces disregarding the dielectric
strong etching reagent composed of 20 ml HNO3 and 60 ml HCl type and test parameters. The low released energy for the high
to reveal the microconstituents below the textured surface, and peak counts induced the local non-textured areas with several
examined through Nikon Epiphot 200 optical microscope and overlapped craters scattered on them in band A. The streaks in
SEM. Fig. 1a represent the fragments from the ground roll surface, and
Microhardness measurements were made on Future-Tech the small crates within these streaks lead to an increase in peak
FM-700 hardness tester using Vickers indenter, 25gf loading count (Table 4). The higher discharge energy produced larger
and 10 s indentation-time, using the standardized procedures of craters in size in ascending order of Fig. 1a to c, leading Ra to
ASTM E 384 [26]. Readings of the indentation diagonals were increase, but Pc to decrease as shown in Table 4, which can be
precisely performed at a magnification of 6000 through SEM. explained with the lower number of craters and rims surround-
Microhardness depth profiles were produced on the cross ing them within the evaluation length. Additionally, several
sections, which had been polished and slightly etched in order microcraks are visible at randomly spaced locations at high
to distinguish the heat-affected layers and remove any residual energy levels (Fig. 2). This is the indication of highly stressed
deformation caused by metallographic preparation. layers due to the high thermal loading in band C.
Analysis of surface enrichment/depletion of the EDTed Alternatively, texturing in de-ionised water produced
samples was conducted by Jobin Yvon radio-frequency glow comparable surface topographies with those in dielectric oil
discharge optical emission spectrometer (RF-GDOES), using (Fig. 1d), however measured Ra values are slightly less than
qualitative depth profiling. The structure and the amount of those specified for the roll surface for outer auto body panels
retained austenite in original roll and recast layers were (Table 5).
identified using Rigaku D/MAX-2200 Ultima + X-ray diffrac- At a given pulse energy, the diameter and depth of a crater
tometer equipped with Cu target and graphite single crystal influenced due to discharge time and discharge current
monochrometer. The working conditions were 40 KV and respectively [23]. This implies that increasing the discharge
40 mA for both analyses. The data were collected using Cu-Kα current at low discharge time result in high peak counts due to
radiation (λ = 1.5405 Å) between 30° and 100° in 2θ. The deeper craters at specified average roughness (Table 4). In this

Fig. 2. Microcracks on the surface of the band C. Fig. 3. Microstructure of the roll material.
O. Elkoca / Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765–2774 2769

Fig. 4. XRD patterns of the original roll, EDTed and subsequently treated samples.

context, the surface in the band B (Fig. 1b) represents the the high temperatures sufficient to melt the surface and dissolve
texture required on the roll surface to meet the demands on auto the M6C and MC carbides (Fig. 5a–b). Etching tangential
body panels. sections in Fig. 5b with the strong reagent reveals martensitic
needles at the border zone of WL-HAZ and cellular structure
3.2. Microstructural morphologies within the WL (Fig. 6). Average thickness of the WL changes
with the input discharge energy as shown in Table 6. In the light
The original roll composes of tempered martensite matrix of the findings from the previous industrial trials on-site and the
and M6C and MC type secondary carbides (Fig. 3). XRD reports of the researchers [12,13] it can be concluded that the
analysis of the polished samples of the original roll reveals some thickness of WL correlates well with the input discharge energy.
retained austenite in addition to the other microconstituents Neither the discharge current nor the discharge duration has a
(Fig. 4). significant effect on the thickness of the WL. In other words, the
A WL with a heterogeneous thickness is revealed at the top magnitude of the WL depends on only the area or size of the
through all the cross and tangential sections of the EDTed bands current pulse-form, but not its shape. At high discharge energy
after etching with Nital 3, suggesting that discharges have led to levels, a few microcracks passing through WL can be noticed
2770 O. Elkoca / Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765–2774

Fig. 5. Cross (a) and tangential (b) sections of the EDTed surfaces.

(Fig. 7). The WL of the band B forms the required surface The chosen EDT process parameters give identical micro-
topography for the skin pass mill work roll, providing a hardness dept profiles in this study. They demonstrate that the
microcrak-free surface with the required Ra and Pc values. hardness level in WL is noticeably below than the bulk material,
A non-melted, but heat-affected zone (HAZ) below the WL however a sharp increase in the hardness in UTM region is
is observed, which is consisted of two different layers as shown observed reaching its peak value just below the WL-HAZ
in Fig. 5, corroborating the results of Rebelo et al. [12] for interface, following a decrease in OTM, which is lower than the
quenched and tempered steels. The first light grey layer bulk material (Fig. 9). Contrary to the hydrocarboneous
downward in Fig. 5a and to the left side in Fig. 5b is quenched dielectric, de-ionised water dielectric liquid gave higher and
layer known as untempered martensite (UTM), which is more uniform hardness values within the WL (Fig. 9).
composed of re-austenitized and subsequently quenched base After sub-zero and cryogenic treatments, outstanding
material, caused by a rapid heating following quenching. Some hardness increments are observed within WL, and even within
residual secondary carbides in martensite plates can be observed bulk material (Fig. 10). Tempering after EDT alone or following
in UTM as shown in Fig. 7. Dark layer following UTM zone is cold treatments result in higher decrease in hardness through the
known as over tempered martensite (OTM), which is the region hardness dept profile.
of repeatedly tempered core material by the emerging heat
during consecutive discharges. 4. Discussions
X-ray diffractions in Fig. 4 and retained austenite contents in
Table 7 show that the WL occurred during EDT essentially The experimental results clearly show that extremely high
consists of significant amount of retained austenite with some heating and cooling rates of EDT lead to rapid melting and
martensite (Fe-α) and carbides. It is thought that retained solidification of textured roll surface, re-austenitizing and over
austenite is situated at the uppermost sections of white layer, tempering of layers below it.
where the carbon content is the highest as shown in qualitative A carbon enrichment in the recast top layer confirms
depth profile (Fig. 8). A small amount of copper has also found microsegregation from the cracked dielectric oil during dischar-
at the top of the WL, indicating a migration from the tool ging process, which is agreed with many researcher [11,15–
electrode. 17,22,27]. It is suggested that the carbon enrichment leads to a
high amount of retained austenite and consequently a hardness
drop in this layer. Marder and Krauss [28] propose that martensite
transformation is incomplete in quenched high carbon steels as a

Table 6
Average WL thickness with respect to the test parameters
Band Test parameters Average WL
thickness (μm)
Discharge time Average current Average energy
(μs) (A) (A⁎ s)
A 12 15 1.80 ⁎ 10− 4 4.0
B 17 28 4.76 ⁎ 10− 4 4.8
C 45 15 6.75 ⁎ 10− 4 5.7
Fig. 6. Tangential section etched with the strong reagent.
O. Elkoca / Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765–2774 2771

start temperature (Ms) of the steel [30]. Regarding the influence of

composition, it is well-known that the Ms temperature decreases
with increasing content of alloying elements. Therefore, the
reason of high proportion of retained austenite in oil dielectric
could be solute trapping of carbon with increasing solidification
speed in thin WL. This could result in super saturation of austenite
leading to its stabilization at room temperature. Colaço et al. [31]
proposes that the decrease in the primary interdendritic spacing in
the sense of grain size is most probably the main reason of the
large proportion of retained austenite in laser surface melted tool
steels. In agreement, only microstructural refinement caused by
rapid cooling can be responsible for the stabilization in de-ionised
water case, which produces slightly higher proportion of retained
Fig. 7. Microcracks within the WL. austenite than the original roll material (Table 7).
A high level of retained austenite usually result in tool failure
after very short service periods and is currently one of the main
result of significant decrease in transformation temperature with reasons in tools made of high speed steels with carbon con-
the high carbon content. For a typical low-carbon lean alloy steel, centrations exceeding 0.8% [32]. Also, retained austenite being a
the martensite transformation range is from 450 to 200 °C, metastable phase appears to be the main reason for spalling of
whereas a case-hardened surface with high carbon concentration indigenous rolls [33]. It has been reported that retained austenite
has a martensite transformation range from 200 °C down to about possibly converts to martensite resulting in expansion of volume
−100 °C [29]. Therefore, if carburising temperatures are high, and that creates internal pressure and causes spalling. Conducting a
if austenite is allowed to become saturated with carbon, then large sub-zero treatment is a practical method to remove the retained
amounts of retained austenite can be expected. In carburised austenite after conventional induction hardening [34]. In dis-
steels, retained austenite has a marked effect on hardness, agreement, the retained austenite content in this study has not
especially with direct quenching, which is shown by a sharp significantly changed after the sub-zero and cryogenic treatments
decline of hardness. In case of EDT, carbon from dielectric oil as shown in Table 7, however the hardness within the WL, HAZ,
concentrates in a narrow region of solid, where consequently a and even the bulk material has increased (Fig. 10). The result is
complete stabilization of austenite is allowed. Therefore, a front similar to the Lloyd et al.'s [18], suggesting that the austenite
that entirely consists of retained austenite separates martensitic phase saturated with carbon is stable and unaffected by cryogenic
region underneath it. These results strongly suggest that the fine treatment. Hardness increase can be attributed to the preferential
features of the WL are the results of micro segregation associated precipitation of fine carbides by slightly shifting carbon atoms due
with rapid non-equilibrium freezing. The low hardness in WL is to the lattice deformation through cold treatments, without
contradictory to the findings of Ghanem et al. [9] suggesting a noticeably reducing the amount of retained austenite [35].
surface hardening almost three times higher than the bulk Considering the hardness increase with the cryogenic treatment
hardness of the hardenable steels containing 0.95 and 1.58% C, at −197 °C compared to the sub-zero one at −70 °C, it can be
machined in rough mode. A columnar and dendritic structure concluded that lower temperatures are much more effective on the
achieved in rough mode is indicative of a slower cooling rate lattice deformation to enhance the preferential precipitation of fine
when compared to finishing mode, which the dendritic structure is carbides via shifting. The tempering treatment after neither EDT
not visible as obtained in this study. It reveals that rough alone nor following cold treatments seem to be a solution to
machining parameters of EDM can cause slow cooling after the restore the low hardness level of the roll, on the contrary causing
cessation of successive discharges, preventing the formation of softening probably due to the decomposition of martensite in
high amount of retained austenite when compared to the fine addition to retained austenite into ferrite and carbide precipitation.
texturing parameters of EDT. This finding is ascertained with that In UTM, austenite grain boundaries disappear and undissolved
of EDM in de-ionised water with the operation parameters close primary carbides increase in size towards the WL. Since this light
to the EDT's, producing a small amount of retained austenite etched region has been heated to the austenite region, the fine
(Table 7), and higher hardness values in WL (Fig. 9). Hardness
increase in de-ionised water can be correlated with microstruc- Table 7
tural refinement caused by extremely high cooling rate after the Retained austenite content of the original roll material and treated samples
cessation of discharges. Ogata et al. [17] reports a decarburised
Sample Retained austenite Standard deviation
layer on the SKD 11 steel when EDMed in de-ionised water, but it (%) (%)
cannot be seen in this study probably due to the significantly thin
Original roll material a 21.41 0.98
WL in all the bands produced via EDT. EDTed 89.20 3.34
Possible causes for the variation in the proportion of retained EDTed + sub-zero treated 88.68 4.09
austenite at room temperature change in one of the following EDTed + cryogenically treated 81.33 5.30
factors: chemical composition, residual stresses, dislocation EDTed in water 28.96 5.38
density and grain size, since all these factors affect the martensite Polished to the flat.
2772 O. Elkoca / Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765–2774

Fig. 8. Depth profiling of the EDTed surface.

secondary carbides, which precipitated during the original density, and consequently decreases the material removal rate
tempering, dissolve. The dark regions observed on the cross [37]. Moreover, in EDM, large amounts of energy requiring to
and tangentional sections are the over tempered base material heat and vaporize water compared to oil results in lower gas
(OTM). Below HAZ, original roll material structure comprising pressure in the gap [38]. However, EDT with a low material
tempered martensite with a dispersion of fine globular carbides removal rate presents an opportunity for de-ionised water to be
can be visualized. used as a dielectric liquid. As shown in this study, the texturing in
EDT deteriorates mechanical properties of the skin pass mill water results in comparable surface topographies with those of
work roll through softening of WL and OTM layer. The softening, dielectric oil, however it needs further work to carried out to
particularly in the WL, would be a negative effect on the service determine the discharge conditions that would give the Ra value
life and the performance of work rolls. Consequently chromium required.
plating of EDTed work rolls has currently been a common
method, which provides four times longer service life with an 5. Conclusions
additional advantage of a higher Pc value for a skin pass mill work
roll [36]. OTM layer could also lead to a decrease in the strength The following conclusions have been deduced from the
of the core that supports the textured surface layer. Cold study.
treatments have little influence on recovering the hardness of
this zone, still lying below the original roll's as shown in Fig. 10. 1. EDT leads to a softening in thermally affected layers beneath
De-ionised water can be used as a dielectric liquid in EDT so the textured surface though it produces the required surface
as to avoid from retained austenite. Performance of the de- topography. The softening is caused by the hardness drop in
ionised water is generally lower than that of hydrocarboneous oil WL and OTM zone, with the formation of high amount of
in EDM, which is attributed to its lower viscosity that produces retained austenite in the former and as a result of re-
less restriction at the discharge channel, thus reduces the energy tempering of tempered martensite in the latter.

Fig. 9. Hardness depth profile on the cross-sectioned surfaces.

O. Elkoca / Surface & Coatings Technology 202 (2008) 2765–2774 2773

Fig. 10. Microhardness distribution after EDT and subsequent treatments.

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