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Material and Surface Engineering

For
Precision Forging Dies

By

Sailesh Babu,
Dilmar Ribeiro
Rajiv Shivpuri

The Ohio State University

Prepared for

Precision Forging Consortium


Ohio Aerospace Institute and
National Center for Manufacturing Sciences

June 10, 1999


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This report is prepared for the Precision Forging Consortium as a deliverable under
contract from the Ohio Aerospace Institute and the National Center for Manufacturing
Sciences. The master project, supported by the Department of Energy, is entitled:
“Energy and Waste Minimization through Precision Forging for the Manufacture of
Complex Shapes.” This report is a companion report to the one produced under
contract by the team at Laval University. The focus of the latter report is on innovative
and advanced die material systems.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the state-of-knowledge of die


materials and surface engineering for forging dies. Since hundreds of materials exist
that may have applications for forging dies, the authors have tried to select those
materials, which in their opinion, have direct relevance to precision forging. The
authors have been selective on materials types but comprehensive on the issues that
must be addressed before these materials can be used optimally in a precision forging
environment.

This report provides information on the following topics:


• Conventional die steels: physical and mechanical properties, die block
manufacturing, and heat treatment. Properties relevant to wear and failure
prevention. Suggestions on their optimal utilization.
• Advanced Die Materials and Surface Engineering: properties and wear behavior.
• Failure Mechanisms and Models that can be used for predicting wear behavior of
die materials in a forging environment. Details of the models provided in
Appendices.
• Manual for DieLit: The ENDNOTE based Database of published information on
die materials, their properties and wear behavior. Includes the references
available at OSU and the classification of this information.
• Manual for SAMS: the smart die material selector software, which has been
developed in the ACCESS environment.

While available information on materials (both conventional and advanced) is


enormous, the properties and relationships needed to optimally select or design
materials and surface engineering for increased lives of dies are incomplete at best and
possibly missing. This report is intended to provide foundation and identify gaps in
knowledge for the Phase II of the Precision Forging Project.

II
TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY…………………………………………………………………………………ii
LIST OF FIGURES……………………………………………………………..………………………….v
LIST OF TABLES…………………………………………………………………………………………..x
1. INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................................. 11
1.1. GOALS OF THE PRECISION FORGING CONSORTIUM ........................................................................ 12
1.2. TASKS FOR PHASE I: GROUP FOR INCREASED LIFE OF DIES/ OSU .......................................... 12
2. A BRIEF REVIEW OF FAILURE OF FORGING DIES .............................................................. 14

3. MATERIAL FOR FORGING DIES................................................................................................. 17


3.1. HOT WORK DIE STEELS .................................................................................................................. 17
3.2. PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF VARIOUS TOOL STEELS ............................................ 20
3.2.1 Resistance to deformation at high temperatures................................................................... 20
3.2.2 Resistance to mechanical shock and fatigue......................................................................... 24
3.2.3 Resistance to thermal softening ............................................................................................ 27
3.2.4 ductility ................................................................................................................................. 29
3.3. MARAGING AND OTHER STEELS .................................................................................................... 31
3.3.1 Composition.......................................................................................................................... 31
3.3.2 Properties ............................................................................................................................. 31
3.4. SUPERALLOYS ............................................................................................................................... 35
4. DIE BLOCK MANUFACTURING AND HEAT TREATMENT.................................................. 39
4.1. DIE BLOCK MANUFACTURING: CLEANLINESS AND MICROSTRUCTURE ......................................... 39
4.2. CAVITY MANUFACTURE: MACHINING AND EDM ......................................................................... 43
4.3. HEAT TREATMENT: AUSTENIZING, QUENCHING AND TEMPERING ................................................ 45
4.3.1 Austenitzation and soaking ................................................................................................... 46
4.3.2 Quenching............................................................................................................................. 51
4.3.3 Tempering ............................................................................................................................. 56
4.4. SPECIFICATIONS: DIE STEEL, HARDNESS, TOUGHNESS AND MICROSTRUCTURE ........................... 61
5. SURFACE TREATMENTS............................................................................................................... 63
5.1. CARBURIZING ................................................................................................................................ 64
5.2. NITRIDING ..................................................................................................................................... 65
5.3. CARBONITRIDING AND NITROCARBURIZING .................................................................................. 68
5.4. BORIDING ...................................................................................................................................... 69
5.5. THERMO-REACTIVE DIFFUSION (TRD) .......................................................................................... 70
5.6. OXIDE COATINGS .......................................................................................................................... 70
6. ADVANCED DIE MATERIALS AND SURFACE ENGINEERING TECHNIQUES................ 72
6.1. CERAMICS: SIALON, SILICON NITRIDE AND SILICON CARBIDE ..................................................... 72
6.2. ALUMINIDES: NICKEL AND TITANIUM ........................................................................................... 73
6.3. WELD OVERLAYS .......................................................................................................................... 77
6.4. CRYOGENIC TREATMENTS ............................................................................................................. 80
6.5. BRUSH PLATING TECHNIQUES ....................................................................................................... 80
6.6. VAPOR DEPOSITION: PVD AND CVD............................................................................................ 85
6.7. THERMAL SPRAYING ..................................................................................................................... 86
6.8. LASER SURFACE MODIFICATION ................................................................................................... 87
6.9. ION IMPLANTATION ....................................................................................................................... 88
7. MECHANISMS AND MODELS OF DIE WEAR AND FAILURE .............................................. 89
7.1. WEAR ............................................................................................................................................ 89

III
7.2. PLASTIC DEFORMATION ................................................................................................................ 90
7.3. MECHANICAL FATIGUE ................................................................................................................. 91
7.4. THERMAL FATIGUE ....................................................................................................................... 93
8. CLOSURE........................................................................................................................................... 95

9. APPENDIX A – FUNDAMENTALS OF DIE FAILURE............................................................... 98

10. APPENDIX B – WEAR INDICES OF VARIOUS DIE MATERIALS ................................... 118

11. APPENDIX C - PROCESS EFFECT ON DIE LIFE ................................................................ 123

REFERENCES ......................................................................................................................................... 139

IV
LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE 1-1. (CSER, GEIGER ET AL. 1993) ..................................................................................................... 12


FIGURE 2-1. FREQUENCY AND LOCATION OF TYPICAL DIE FAILURES IN FORGING (CSER, GEIGER ET AL. 1993)
.............................................................................................................................................................. 14
FIGURE 2-2. COMPLEX INTERACTION OF FORGING PARAMETERS AND WEAR ARTINGER, (CSER, GEIGER ET AL.
1993)..................................................................................................................................................... 15
FIGURE 2-3. SOME ASPECTS OF FORGING AND PROCESS DESIGN THAT AFFECT WEAR AND FRACTURE LANGE,
K IN (CSER, GEIGER ET AL. 1993) ......................................................................................................... 15
FIGURE 3-1. (A) VARIATION OF HARDNESS OF DIE STEEL OF H-12 AND 6F2 WITH TEMPERING TIMES. H-12
USED WAS AUSTENETIZED FROM 1040 C WITH AS QUENCHED HARDNESS OF 584 VPN, 6F2 WAS
AUSTENETIZED FROM 850 °C WITH AS QUENCHED HARDNESS OF 601 VPN (B) VARIATION YIELD
STRENGTH OF DIFFERENT TOOL STEELS WITH TEMPERATURES. (NAGPAL 1976).................................... 20
FIGURE 3-2. YIELD STRENGTH AND HARDNESS VERSUS TEMPERATURE FOR SEVERAL TOOL STEELS
(NORSTROM, JOHANSSON ET AL. 1981)................................................................................................. 21
FIGURE 3-3. VARIATION OF YIELD STRENGTH WITH TEMPERATURE (SEMIATIN AND LAHOTI 1981).............. 21
FIGURE 3-4. MECHANICAL RESISTANCE VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE EXPRESSED IN TWO FORMS FOR THE H13
AND A NEW HOT WORK TOOL STEEL (QRO90) (ROBERTS AND NORSTROM 1987)................................. 22
FIGURE 3-5 YIELD STRENGTH AND DUCTILITY VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE (A5) ELONGATION (Z) AREA
REDUCTION. A) H13 AND B) QRO90 (UDDEHOLM ).............................................................................. 22
FIGURE 3-6 TENSILE STRENGTH AND DUCTILITY VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE FOR STEELS FROM H13 GROUP
(H12, H11, H10), PLUS AND HIGH ALLOY, H21, AND A LOW ALLOY GROUP 6F3 (THYSSEN ). .............. 23
FIGURE 3-7. VARIATION OF CHARPY TOUGHNESS WITH DIFFERENT HARDNESS LEVELS AND TESTING
TEMPERATURES ON OF HOT WORK DIE STEELS (VALUES IN PARENTHESES INDICATE HARDNESS AT ROOM
TEMPERATURE) (NAGPAL 1976)............................................................................................................ 24
FIGURE 3-8 VARIATION OF TOUGHNESS FOR SEVERAL TOOL STEELS IN FUNCTION OF HARDNESS AND YIELD
STRENGTH (CSER, GEIGER ET AL. 1993)................................................................................................ 24
FIGURE 3-9. VARIATION OF TOUGHNESS FOR SEVERAL TOOL STEELS IN FUNCTION OF HARDNESS AND YIELD
STRENGTH (SHIVPURI AND SEMIATIN 1988) .......................................................................................... 25
FIGURE 3-10 COMPARISON OF TOUGHNESS PROPERTIES FOR H13, H21 AND A NEW HOT WORK TOOL STEEL
QRO80M VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE (JOHANSSON, JONSSON ET AL. 1985)....................................... 25
FIGURE 3-11 COMPARISON OF TOUGHNESS KIC AND CHARPY V-NOTCH FOR SEVERAL TOOL STEELS. A) KIC
FOR THREE BAR SIZE, LONGITUDINAL DIRECTION, THE SMALL DIAMETERS REPRESENT REDUCTION FROM
THE BIGGER DIAMETER; B) CHARPY V-NOTCH LONGITUDINAL AND TRANSVERSAL C) KIC FOR H13 IN
FUNCTION OF THE HARDNESS, AUSTENITIZED AT 1024°C, TIME 25 MIN, AIR COOLED (HEMPHILL AND
WERT 1987). ......................................................................................................................................... 26
FIGURE 3-12 TOUGHNESS VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE FOR A) H13 AND B) QRO90 (UDDEHOLM )............. 26
FIGURE 3-13.(A) VARIATION OF HARDNESS WITH TEMPERATURE FOR H-11, H-12, H-13, H-14 AND
PYROVAN. MEASUREMENTS WERE MADE AFTER HOLDING SAMPLES FOR 30 MINUTES FOR
HOMOGENIZATION (B) RESISTANCE OF HOT WORK DIES STEELS TO THERMAL SOFTENING AS MEASURED
BY THE ROOM TEMPERATURE HARDNESS (NAGPAL 1976) ..................................................................... 27
FIGURE 3-14 COMPARISON OF PROPERTIES FOR H13 AND A NEW HOT WORK TOOL STEEL QRO80M VERSUS
TEST TEMPERATURE (A) STANDARD TEMPERING CURVE (JOHANSSON, JONSSON ET AL. 1985). (B)
MASTER TEMPERING CURVE FOR PREMIUM H13 WERE: P= LARSOM-MILLER PARAMETER, T IS
TEMPERATURE (°F), T IS TIME IN HOURS (CARPENTER )......................................................................... 27
FIGURE 3-15 THERMAL EXPANSION FOR SEVERAL TOOL STEELS VERSUS TEMPERATURE (ROBERTS, KRAUSS
ET AL. 1998).......................................................................................................................................... 28
FIGURE 3-16. DUCTILITY OF VARIOUS DIE STEELS AT HIGH TEMPERATURES (NAGPAL 1976) ....................... 29
FIGURE 3-17 COMPARISON OF DUCTILITY FOR H13, H21 AND A NEW HOT WORK TOOL STEEL QRO80M
VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE (JOHANSSON, JONSSON ET AL. 1985). ...................................................... 29
FIGURE 3-18 (A) MASTER TEMPERING CURVE, T IS TEMPERATURE IN KELVIN, T IS TIME IN HOURS (B) HOT
HARDNESS OF HWM COMPARED TO H- 13 (KASAK AND STEVEN 1970) (C) AGING CURVES................. 32
FIGURE 3-19 PROPERTIES VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE OF MARAGINS STEELS COMPARED WITH H13 (A)
HARDNESS (B) YIELD STRENGTH AND DUCTILITY (BAYER 1984) .......................................................... 32

V
FIGURE 3-20 PROPERTIES ON A MARAGING STEELS 18 NI 300 AND H13. (A) HOT-HARDNESS OF MEASURED
AFTER HOLDING AT THE TESTING TEMPERATURES FOR 30 MIN. (B) TENSILE PROPERTIES VERSUS TESTING
TEMPERATURES C) TOUGHNESS OF VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE (BARRY, WILLS ET AL. 1968) ............ 33
FIGURE 3-21 PROPERTIES OF A HOT WORK MARAGING STEEL COMPARED WITH H13 GROUP AND THERMAL
FATIGUE RESULTS: A) FIELDS OF AUSTENITE AND MARTENSITE IN FUNCTION OF TEMPERATURE SHOWING
THE EFFECT OF NI% (BRANDIS AND HABERLING 1987) (B) AGING CURVES FOR 18%NI AND 12%NI C)
THERMAL FATIGUE RESISTANCE FOR H13 GROUP AND A MARAGING STEEL (D) HOT YIELD STRENGTH
(GEHRICKE 1993; GEHRICKE, KLARENFJORK ET AL. 1995) .................................................................. 34
FIGURE 3-22 COMPARISON OF TOUGHNESS CHARPY V-NOTCHED FOR A H13 STEEL AND A MARAGING STEEL
(MARLOCK) AT TWO TEST TEMPERATURES (DORSCH 1991).................................................................. 34
FIGURE 3-23. DUCTILITY AND TOUGHNESS VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE (SEMIATIN AND LAHOTI 1981) ..... 35
FIGURE 3-24. MECHANICAL PROPERTIES EXPRESSED AS HARDNESS AND YIELD STRENGTH VERSUS TEST
TEMPERATURE (SEMIATIN AND LAHOTI 1981) ...................................................................................... 36
FIGURE 3-25. COMPILATION OF SEVERAL PROPERTIES VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE FOR SUPERALLOYS FROM
OHUCHI (OHUCHI 1990). A) HARDNESS B) THERMAL EXPANSION C-D) ULTIMATE TENSILE STRENGTH
AND Y IELD STRESS. ............................................................................................................................... 36
FIGURE 4-1. SCHEMATIC COMPARISON OF DUCTILITY (CHARPY UNNOTCHED) AND TOUGHNESS (CHARPY V
NOTCH) VERSUS TEMPERATURE, ROOM TEMPERATURE (RT) (NORSTROM 1989) .................................. 39
FIGURE 4-2. EFFECT OF SULFUR CONTENT ON THE TRANSVERSE FRACTURE TOUGHNESS OF H-13 DIE STEEL
(ROBERTS AND NORSTROM 1987). ........................................................................................................ 40
FIGURE 4-3. EFFECT OF COARSE GRAIN BOUNDARY CARBIDES FROM ANNEALED TOOL STEEL ON THE
TOUGHNESS AT ELEVATED TEMPERATURES. MEASUREMENTS WERE MADE AFTER QUENCHING AND
TEMPERING (BECKER, FUCHS ET AL. 1989) B) COMBINED INFLUENCE OF CLEAN PROCESSING AND
EXTRA FINE STRUCTURE (EFS) ON TOUGHNESS (BECKER 1984). .......................................................... 40
FIGURE 4-4 (A) EFFECT OF CARBIDES ON DUCTILITY OF STANDARD H-13 (B) EFFECT OF CARBIDES AND
INCLUSIONS ON DUCTILITY. (ROBERTS AND NORSTROM 1987) ............................................................. 41
FIGURE 4-5 RELATION BETWEEN SAMPLES ORIENTATION, DUCTILITY AND THERMAL FATIGUE A5
ELONGATION, Z AREA REDUCTION, VW UNNOTCHED EUROPEAN SAMPLE FOR IMPACT TEST A,B,C
(ROBERTS AND NORSTROM 1987) ......................................................................................................... 42
FIGURE 4-6. EFFECT OF EDM PROCESS IN DIE SURFACE; REFROZEN LAYER AND THERMAL CRACKS (CSER,
GEIGER ET AL. 1993)............................................................................................................................. 43
FIGURE 4-7. SURFACE OF DIES AFTER EDM, H13 AND MARAGING STEEL (MARLOCK) (DORSCH 1991). ...... 44
FIGURE 4-8. HEAT TREATMENT CYCLE OF HOT WORKING STEELS (KRAUSS 1995). ....................................... 46
FIGURE 4-9. INFLUENCE OF AUSTENITIZING TEMPERATURE IN PROPERTIES VERSUS TEMPERING
TEMPERATURE; TENSILE STRENGTH, DUCTILITY AND TOUGHNESS ARE REPRESENTED FOR H13 AND DIM
2367 HOT WORK STEEL (BECKER, FUCHS ET AL. 1989). ........................................................................ 48
FIGURE 4-10. EFFECT OF AUSTENITIZING TEMPERATURES ON ASTM GRAIN SIZE AND AS-QUENCHED
VICKERS HARDNESS OF H-13 (STUHL AND BREITLER 1987). ................................................................ 49
FIGURE 4-11 EFFECT OF AUSTENITIZING TEMPERATURES ON AS QUENCHED HARDNESS, GRAIN SIZE AND
RETAINED AUSTENITE A) H13. B) H13 AND H11 (PICKERING 1987) ..................................................... 50
FIGURE 4-12. CCT DIAGRAMS FOR TWO AUSTENITIZING TEMPERATURES , B) EFFECT OF CARBON ON MS
(ROBERTS AND ROBERT 1980) .............................................................................................................. 50
FIGURE 4-13. A) EFFECT OF BAR SIZE ON THE QUENCH RATE AND THE RESULTING PHASE STARTING WITH AN
AUSTENITIZING TEMPERATURE OF A)1000° C AND B) 1050° C (SCHMITD 1987) B) VARIATION OF
TEMPERATURES ACROSS A SECTION OF H-13 DURING QUENCHING AND THE RESULTING PHASES
(BIERMANN 1984) ................................................................................................................................. 51
FIGURE 4-14 A-B) COOLING RATES USED ILLUSTRATING THE CORRESPONDING STRUCTURES IN THE CCT
DIAGRAM; B) TABLE WITH THE CONDITIONS AND THE RESULTING PROPERTIES FOR THE CORRESPONDING
COOLING RATES (WALLACE 1989). ....................................................................................................... 52
FIGURE 4-15. EFFECT OF COOLING RATES ON THE PHASE CONTENT AND THE RESULTING TOUGHNESS. STEELS
WAS AUSTENITIZED AT 1020 C FOR 30 MINS AND OIL QUENCHED AT DIFFERENT RATES. (OKUNO 1987)
.............................................................................................................................................................. 53
FIGURE 4-16. EFFECT OF DIFFERENT COOLING RATES RESULTING FROM THE QUENCHING PRESSURES FOR A
11”X20”X30” BLOCK (ROCHE, BEATON ET AL. 1997)........................................................................... 55

VI
FIGURE 4-17. A)EFFECT OF COOLING RATE ON THE LONGITUDINAL TOUGHNESS; B) EFFECT OF VARIOUS
QUENCHING MEDIUMS ON THE DUCTILITY OF SAMPLES TAKEN IN THE THREE DIRECTIONS (1,3,4
PRODUCE COARSE BAINITE AND HIGH GBC PRECIPITATION) (ROBERTS AND NORSTROM 1987) ........... 56
FIGURE 4-18. DROP IN TOUGHNESS OF H-13 WITH SECONDARY HARDENING. A) REPRESENTS TOUGHNESS IN
CHARPY V-NOTCH ENERGY, B) REPRESENTS TOUGHNESS IN KIC (PICKERING 1987) .............................. 57
FIGURE 4-19 SOFTENING RETARDATION EFFECTS IN RELATION FOR SEVERAL ELEMENTS IN RELATION TO A
FE-C CARBON STEEL AT TEMPERING TEMPERATURE OF 540°C (KRAUSS 1995) .................................... 58
FIGURE 4-20. EFFECTS OF TEMPERING TEMPERATURE IN TOOL STEELS DIMENSION INCLUDING CONTRACTION
AND EXPANSION (PICKERING 1987)....................................................................................................... 58
FIGURE 5-1. THICKNESS OF VARIOUS COATINGS AND SURFACE TREATMENTS (SUBRAMANIAN 1996)........... 63
FIGURE 5-2.A. COMPARISON OF WEAR AMOUNTS OF SURFACE TREATED UPSETTING TOOLS AFTER 1000
FORGING CYCLES WITH LUBRICANT (DELTAFORGE-31) (DOEGE, SEIDEL ET AL. 1996)......................... 64
FIGURE 5-3. RESULTS FOR HOT WORK TOOL STEELS IN THE H13 GROUP PRESENTED BY KRISHNADEV
(KRISHNADEV 1997) (A) COMPOSITION (B) TOUGHNESS (C) HOT HARDNESS (D) SOFTENING OF THE
ALLOYS 2-3 WITH AND WITHOUT NITRIDING E) HARDNESS ACHIEVABLE WITH DIFFERENT COATINGS AND
THE ALLOYS CHEMICAL COMPOSITION F) CHARPY IMPACT TOUGHNESS OF H-13 AND TREATED ALLOY
NO. 3..................................................................................................................................................... 67
FIGURE 5-4. RELATIVE WEAR RATES OF NITRIDED AND NON-NITRIDED TOOL STEELS USED IN EXTRUSION
FORGING (DEAN 1987) .......................................................................................................................... 68
FIGURE 6-1.COMPILATION OF SEVERAL PROPERTIES VERSUS TEST TEMPERATURE FOR CERAMICS FROM
OHUCHI (OHUCHI 1990). A) HARDNESS B) THERMAL EXPANSION C) YIELD STRESS.............................. 72
FIGURE 6-2. MECHANICAL PROPERTIES A) COMPRESSIVE YIELD STRENGTH FOR NI ALLOY 718 AND NICKEL
ALUMINIDE 221M-T (AL 7.6-8.2; CR 7.5-8.2; MO 1.3-1.55; Z 1.4-2.0; B 0.003-0.01 NI BALANCE) B)
TENSILE AND YIELD STRENGTH FOR 221M-T ALLOY (MADDOX AND ORTH 1997)................................ 74
FIGURE 6-3 YIELD STRENGTH OF VARIOUS GRADES OF NICKEL ALUMINIDES (BLAU 1992) ........................... 74
FIGURE 6-4. COMPARISON OF CRACK GROWTH DATA FOR NICKEL ALUMINIDE COMPARED TO OTHER HIGH
TEMPERATURE ALLOYS. (FUCHS, KURUVILLA ET AL. ).......................................................................... 75
FIGURE 6-5 COMPARISON OF YIELD STRENGTH OF IC-15 TO THOSE OF OTHER HIGH TEMPERATURE ALLOYS.
(HORTON, LIU ET AL. ) .......................................................................................................................... 76
FIGURE 6-6. RESULTS OF WEAR TESTS ON VARIOUS WELDING CONSUMABLES (KOHOPAA, HAKONEN ET AL.
1989)..................................................................................................................................................... 78
FIGURE 6-7. WEAR RATE VARIATION FOR DIES WITH SHARP RADII AND FILLETS, FOR DIFFERENT COATINGS.
M11, M12 AND M-14 ARE CO-MO COATINGS, W2 AND W3 ARE CO-W COATINGS (STILL AND DENNIS
1977)..................................................................................................................................................... 82
FIGURE 6-8. RESULTS OF SIMULATED HOT FORGING TESTS WITH DIFFERENT COATINGS (DENNIS AND JONES
1981)..................................................................................................................................................... 84
FIGURE 6-9. VARIATIONS OF WEAR AREA WITH NUMBER OF FORGINGS. THE DIES USED WERE FLAT DIES WITH
DIES HAVING SHARP RADII AND FILLETS (DENNIS AND STILL 1975) ...................................................... 84
FIGURE 6-10. RATIO OF CRACKED AREA OF COATED CORNERS TO AN UNCOATED CORNER FOR VARIOUS
MATERIALS (MIRTICH, NIEH ET AL. 1981) ............................................................................................ 85
FIGURE 6-11 WEAR OF DIFFERENT THERMAL SPRAYED COATINGS (MONIKA 1981) ...................................... 86
FIGURE 6-12 THE BURNISHED COATING DID NOT PRESENTED CRACKS. SAMPLES 45MM DIAMETER BY 40MM
HIGH, INDUCTION HEATED DURING ~ 18S AND COOLED BY 10S BETWEEN TEMPERATURES OF 20-700°C.
(MONIKA 1981)..................................................................................................................................... 87
FIGURE 6-13. EFFECT OF LASER SURFACE MODIFICATION ON WEAR PERFORMANCE OF HOT WORK DIES
COMPARED WITH NITRIDED DIES (CSER, GEIGER ET AL. 1993) .............................................................. 87
FIGURE 7-1 S-N CURVE WITH PROBABILITY LINES OR S-N-P (DIETER 1986) ............................................... 91
FIGURE 7-2. ILLUSTRATION OF THE METHODS FOR ESTIMATING FATIGUE BASED IN STATIC PROPERTIES
(MANSON 1972) .................................................................................................................................... 92
FIGURE 9-1. APPEARANCE OF PLOUGH MARKS CAUSED BY ABRASIVE WEAR (STACHOWIAK 1993) ............. 98
FIGURE 9-2. DIFFERENT MECHANISMS OF WEAR IN ABRASION (STACHOWIAK 1993) .................................... 99
FIGURE 9-3 .A) A TYPICAL METALLURGICAL WELD. B) A TYPICAL ADHESION JOINT (RABINOWICZ 1995). 100
FIGURE 9-4. A): HOT FORGING TOP BLOCKER PUNCH MADE FORM H13. B) CROSS SECTION OF THE PUNCH C)
MOTTLED INTERFACE D) OXIDATION INSIDE OF THERMAL FATIGUE CRACK......................................... 101
FIGURE 9-5. ILLUSTRATES PHYSICAL CHANGES ON THE DIE SURFACE THAT RESULTS IN HEAT CHECKING
(NORSTROM 1991) .............................................................................................................................. 103

VII
FIGURE 9-6. ILLUSTRATION OF GEOMETRY EFFECT ON NORMAL UNI-AXIAL STRESSES REQUIRED TO INDENT A
SLAB (SCHEY 1987)............................................................................................................................. 106
FIGURE 9-7. EXAMPLES OF SEVERE PLASTIC DEFORMATION AT THE DIE SURFACE (SUMMERVILLE,
VENKATESAN ET AL. 1995) ................................................................................................................. 107
FIGURE 9-8. EXAMPLE OF SURFACE PLASTIC DEFORMATION (SUMMERVILLE, VENKATESAN ET AL. 1995). 107
FIGURE 9-9. EXAMPLE OF SURFACE PLASTIC DEFORMATION (SUMMERVILLE, VENKATESAN ET AL. 1995). 108
FIGURE 9-10 SCHEMATIC INTERACTION BETWEEN THE PARAMETER IN HOT FORGING AND THE CRACKING
(KNORR 1993)..................................................................................................................................... 109
FIGURE 9-11 ILLUSTRATION OF A CRITICAL REGION IN EXTRUSION DIES, WHERE THE FILLET RADIUS IS
SUBJECT TO TENSILE STRESS (CSER, GEIGER ET AL. 1993) .................................................................. 109
FIGURE 9-12. REPRESENTATION OF THE FATIGUE CRACK PROPAGATION (DIETER 1986)............................. 110
FIGURE 9-13 TULSAN (TULSYAN, SHIVPURI ET AL. 1993) PRESENTS A CURVE FORM STOREN AND OTHERS
FOR DIFFERENT TOOL STEELS AND HEAT TREATMENT. A) FRACTURE TOUGHNESS PROPERTIES AS
FUNCTION OF THE WORKING TEMPERATURES AND THE HEAT TREATMENTS B) MATERIALS AND HEAT
TREATMENT LIST ................................................................................................................................. 110
FIGURE 9-14 RESULTS IN AIR AND VACUUM ATMOSPHERES, SHOWING THE AMBIENT EFFECT AT THE FATIGUE
RESISTANCE IN HIGH TEMPERATURES (SALOMON 1972)...................................................................... 111
FIGURE 9-15 CORRELATION OF HIGH AND LOW CYCLE FATIGUE DATA FOR SOLUTION TREATED TYPE 304
STAINLESS STEEL AS A FUNCTION OF ALTERNATING STRESS (SOO 1972). ............................................ 112
FIGURE 9-16 EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE ON FATIGUE-CRACK-GROWTH BEHAVIOR OF 2 1/4 CR-1MO STEEL
(VISWNATHAN 1989). ......................................................................................................................... 113
FIGURE 9-17 VARIATION OF FATIGUE-CRACK-GROWTH RATES AS FUNCTION OF TEMPERATURE AT ∆K =
30MPA (M)1/2 (VISWNATHAN 1989)..................................................................................................... 114
FIGURE 9-18 SERIES OF CASES WITH STRESS CONCENTRATION IN FORGING DIES PRESENTED BY KNORR
(KNORR 1993). A) – B) FROM ERLMANN AT AL.; C) -D) FROM MARECZEK ......................................... 117
FIGURE 10-1. ABRASION RESISTANCE OF SEVERAL TOOL STEELS VERSUS STRUCTURAL PARAMETER (WEAR
INDEX) (BLAU 1992) ........................................................................................................................... 118
FIGURE 10-2. VARIATION OF WEAR INDEX WITH DIE HARDNESS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE (KANNAPAN 1969;
KANNAPAN 1970)................................................................................................................................ 119
FIGURE 10-3. WEAR RESISTANCE OF .55% C DIE STEEL WITH HARDNESS, % CR AND HEAT TREATMENT. 1
INDICATES (KANNAPAN 1969; KANNAPAN 1970).............................................................................. 120
FIGURE 10-4. WEAR TEST RESULTS USING DIFFERENT DIE MATERIALS (BRAMLEY, LORD ET AL. 1989) ..... 121
FIGURE 10-5. WEAR TEST RESULTS USING DIFFERENT DIE MATERIALS (BRAMLEY, LORD ET AL. 1989) ..... 122
FIGURE 10-6. VARIATION OF WEAR INDEX WITH DIFFERENT DIE STEELS. THE GRAPHS ALSO ILLUSTRATE THE
EFFECT OF DIFFERENT FORGING STEEL (THOMAS 1970) ...................................................................... 122
FIGURE 11-1. EFFECT OF MAXIMUM CAVITY DEPTH ON DIE LIFE (HEINEMEYER 1976)................................ 124
FIGURE 11-2. EFFECT OF NOMINAL LOAD AND ENERGY ON AVERAGE DIE LIVES (HEINEMEYER 1976)........ 124
FIGURE 11-3. EFFECT OF FORGING WEIGHT ON DIE DAMAGE (ASTON 1969) ............................................... 125
FIGURE 11-4. VARIATION OF DIE DAMAGE WITH SIZE OF FORGING (ASTON AND BARRY 1972) .................. 126
FIGURE 11-5. EFFECT OF FORGING WEIGHT, FILLET RADII, DRAFT ANGLES AND CONTACT AREA ON WEAR OF
FORGING DIES (ASTON 1969)............................................................................................................... 127
FIGURE 11-6. EFFECT OF VARIOUS TOOL STEEL ON DIE WEAR (THOMAS 1970) ........................................... 127
FIGURE 11-7. EFFECT OF BULK TEMPERATURE AND STOCK TEMPERATURE ON WEAR OF HAMMER DIES
(THOMAS 1971)................................................................................................................................... 128
FIGURE 11-8. RELATIVE DIE DAMAGE OF FIVE DIFFERENT PART FAMILIES WHEN FORGED IN A HAMMER AND A
PRESS (ASTON 1969) ........................................................................................................................... 129
FIGURE 11-9. EFFECT OF DWELL TIME ON THE WEAR VOLUMES OBSERVED (ROOKS 1974) ......................... 130
FIGURE 11-10. DIE WEAR FOR THREE DIFFERENT DWELL TIMES FOR A) H.50 DIES AND B) NO. 5 TOOL STEEL
DIES (ROOKS 1974) ............................................................................................................................. 131
FIGURE 11-11. EFFECT OF SCALING TIME ON ADHESIVE WEAR CHARACTERISTICS (THOMAS 1971) ............ 132
FIGURE 11-12: OXIDE FORMATION ON 080M40 (EN8) STEEL BILLETS HEATED TO 1100°C (DEAN 1974)... 133
FIGURE 11-13. SCALE FORMATION AND ADHERENCE AS FUNCTION OF HEATING TIME AND FURNACE
ATMOSPHERE (THOMAS 1971)............................................................................................................. 133
FIGURE 11-14. EFFECT OF FURNACE SELECTION ON DIE WEAR OF EXTRUSION DIES (DOEGE, SEIDEL ET AL.
1996)................................................................................................................................................... 134

VIII
FIGURE 11-15. EFFECT OF SCALE THICKNESS ON THE DIE SURFACE TEMPERATURE (KELLOW, BRAMLEY ET
AL. 1969) ............................................................................................................................................ 135
FIGURE 11-16. EFFECT OF FORGING TEMPERATURE ON THE WEAR DEPTH AFTER FORGING 4000 PIECES
(NETTHOFEL 1965).............................................................................................................................. 136
FIGURE 11-17. VARIATION OF WEAR PATTERN OF THE TOP AND BOTTOM DIES WITH LUBRICATION (SINGH,
ROOKS ET AL. 1973)............................................................................................................................ 137
FIGURE 11-18. VARIATION OF WEAR RATE WITH LUBRICATION (SINGH, ROOKS ET AL. 1973).................... 137
FIGURE 11-19. VARIATION OF WEAR VOLUME WITH DIE BULK TEMPERATURE FOR LUBRICATED AND DRY
FORGING (SINGH, ROOKS ET AL. 1973) ............................................................................................... 138

IX
LIST OF TABLES

TABLE 3-1. AISI CLASSIFICATION AND COMPOSITION OF TOOL STEELS (ROBERTS, KRAUSS ET AL. 1998) .. 17
TABLE 3-2 LIST OF HOT WORK TOOL STEELS AND OTHER MATERIALS COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE IN US... 18
TABLE 3-3. COMPOSITIONS OF SOME COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE HOT WORK STEELS ................................. 19
TABLE 3-4 LIST OF HOT WORK TOOL STEELS AND OTHER MATERIALS COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE IN US
TYPE...................................................................................................................................................... 19
TABLE 3-5. CLASS 510. CHROMIUM DIE STEEL (ROBERTS, KRAUSS ET AL. 1998). ...................................... 19
TABLE 3-6. CLASS 520. CHROMIUM – MOLYBDENUM DIE STEELS (ROBERTS, KRAUSS ET AL. 1998). ........ 19
TABLE 3-7. CLASS 530. CHROMIUM – TUNGSTEN DIE STEELS (ROBERTS, KRAUSS ET AL. 1998)................ 19
TABLE 3-8. CLASS 540. TUNGSTEN DIE STEELS (ROBERTS, KRAUSS ET AL. 1998)........................................ 19
TABLE 3-9. CLASS 540. TUNGSTEN DIE STEELS (ROBERTS, KRAUSS ET AL. 1998)........................................ 19
TABLE 3-10 TABLES WITH A COMPILATION OF CLASSIFICATION AND COMPOSITION FOR SEVERAL
SUPERALLOYS AND AGING ALLOYS; A-B (SEMIATIN AND LAHOTI 1981). .............................................. 38
TABLE 4-1. CLEANLINESS OF STEELS USED BY ROBERTS AND NOSTRUM (ROBERTS AND NORSTROM 1987) 41
TABLE 4-2. A, B HARDENING AND TEMPERING TEMPERATURES AND PROCEDURES FOR TOOL STEELS
(ROBERTS AND ROBERT 1980). ............................................................................................................. 60
TABLE 5-1. RESPONSE OF DIFFERENT TOOL STEELS TO SEVERAL SURFACE ENGINEERING TOWARDS
ENHANCEMENT OF TOUGHNESS, HOT HARDNESS, HEAT CHECKING, TEMPER RESISTANCE (KRISHNADEV
1997)..................................................................................................................................................... 66
TABLE 5-2. AVERAGE MAXIMUM WEAR DEPTHS (µM) ON SURFACE ENGINEERED DIES AFTER UPSETTING 500
AISI 1040 STEEL BILLETS AT 1070° C (VENKATESAN, SUMMERVILLE ET AL. 1998) ............................ 69
TABLE 6-1. COMPOSITIONS OF VARIOUS GRADES OF NICKEL ALUMINIDES (BLAU 1992).............................. 73
TABLE 6-2. WEAR CONSTANTS OBTAINED THROUGH PIN-ON-DISC TYPE TESTS FOR VARIOUS GRADES OF
NICKEL ALUMINIDES (BLAU 1992) ....................................................................................................... 75
TABLE 6-3. SOME PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF IC-50 (OAK ) ........................................................................... 76
TABLE 6-4 VARIATION OF YIELD STRENGTH, ULTIMATE STRENGTH AND DUCTILITY OF IC50 WITH
TEMPERATURE (OAK ) ........................................................................................................................... 77
TABLE 6-5. VARIATION OF MODULUS OF ELASTICITY OF IC50 WITH TEMPERATURE (OAK ) ......................... 77
TABLE 6-6. WEAR VOLUME OBTAINED AFTER 100 FORGINGS USING FLAT DIES ELECTRO-DEPOSITED WITH
SOME WEAR RESISTANT COATINGS (STILL AND DENNIS 1977) .............................................................. 81
TABLE 6-7. RESULTS OF INDUSTRIAL TRIALS OF USE OF COATINGS. 17A REPRESENTS NON-ROUND SHALLOW
DIES, 17B YOKE-TYPE DIES AND 17C GEAR BLANK DIES (STILL AND DENNIS 1977)............................... 82
TABLE 6-8. RESULTS OF INDUSTRIAL TRIALS ON HOT FORGING DIES BRUSH PLATED WITH CO-MO ALLOY
COATINGS (DENNIS AND JONES 1981) ................................................................................................... 83
TABLE 6-9 RESULTS OF PRODUCTION TESTING OF VARIOUS SURFACE TREATMENTS (MONIKA 1981) ........... 86
TABLE 7-1. TABLE SUMMARIZING DIFFERENT WEAR MODELS FOUND IN LITERATURE ................................... 90
TABLE 9-1. RESULTS FOR CRACK PROPAGATION TYPO PARIS DA/DN FOR THE CONSTANTS “C, N”. B)
MATERIALS COMPOSITIONS FOR THE HOT TOOL STEELS USED (SCHUCHTAR 1988). ............................ 115

X
1. INTRODUCTION
Near net shape manufacturing processes are processes that produces product shapes
close to final desired shape. Closed-die forgings have traditionally had liberal stock
allowances and high tolerances. With steady demands placed on the forging
community to make forgings with lower stock allowances and higher quality, demands
placed on die and the die material to last longer have become intense. Flashless
forgings with less than .03” machining stock, spur gears, spiral bevel gears and splines
with near net tooth with as little as .005” grinding stock and net toothed bevel gears
have become part of many forger’s product line.

These precision forged parts, apart from reducing material usage, reduces machining
times and provides better mechanical properties. With such small machining
allowances and tolerances, there is very little room for forging process variations. The
forgers have to reduce the process variations as much as possible so that the parts they
make meet or exceed the customer’s expectations.

Awareness of the importance of process control, well understood by aerospace material


forgers, is creeping into other steel forgers also. There is a strong need in the forging
industry to reduce process variations and improve quality at the same time reduce cost
of forgings. This is essential to the survival of forging plants in the long run as well as
viability of the new generation of precision forged parts.

One of the most important ingredients in cost of forgings is the cost of tooling involved.
Die costs range from 10 to 15% of the cost of a forging. This is illustrated in Figure 1.1
(Doege, Seidel et al. 1996). This includes cost of die material, machining the dies and
subsequent heat treatment, if necessary. The indirect cost of dies is however, far more
significant.

If tooling wears out or become unusable, the production has to be stopped to change
dies. Setup times can range anywhere from under 10 minutes to over 3 hours,
depending on the complexity of the setup, skill and practices used by the setup crew.
This results in additional direct wages in material handling, tool rework and other
overhead costs. Also, this may result in additional overtime premiums in the die shop
and the forge shop, low resource utilization and in an extreme case, result in missed
delivery to customers. If quality and inspection systems breakdown, if dies are not
changed at the appropriate time, additional loss occurs due to scrap. The effect of
tooling failure on setup costs is shown in (Figure 1.1). Though tooling cost is only 10 -
15% of a forging cost, the indirect cost of tooling could be as high as 70%. Life of a forge
tooling, hence, has great ramifications on the economic competitiveness of a forging
company. Identifying different modes of die failure and understanding dominant
mechanisms are essential first steps in the path to increasing die life.

11
Figure 1-1. (Cser, Geiger et al. 1993)

To understand the problems associated with forging die failure, one must understand
the forging processes and all the system components involved.

1.1. GOALS OF THE PRECISION FORGING


CONSORTIUM
The long term goals of the precision forging consortium is to provide the warm forging
operations in North America, precision forging capability in all aspects of forging
operation. In the short term, towards tracking progress in the direction of improving
performance of dies essential to the viability of precision forging, the precision forging
consortium has set for itself the following metrics.

1. 10X improvement in tool-life


2. reduce die cost / piece by 15%
3. 15% reduction in raw material consumption through precision forging capabilities
4. Validating cost effective transition to lower forging temperatures
5. 20% reduction in overall input energy

1.2. TASKS FOR PHASE I: GROUP FOR INCREASED


LIFE OF DIES/ OSU
The cornerstone of successful precision forging is development of high performance
tooling that is cost effective from a overall product cost point of view as well as easily
manufacturable. Forgers needs to understand what factors affect the quality of their
parts and cost of their product. As we indicated earlier, one of the biggest components
of cost is tooling cost and indirect costs of bad tooling including cost of additional
setups, rework, scrap and loss of productivity. These costs will be substantially higher
in precision forging with tighter tolerances and surface finish requirements. Currently,
precision hot and warm forgers experience from 10-20 times more scrap (in ppm)

12
compared to conventional forging. Understanding and reducing die failure and
improving die life is an essential part of long term survival of forging industry.

To achieve these objectives, it is also necessary to evaluate die failure under a unified
environment consisting of die materials, surface treatments, coatings as well as forging
process variables like temperatures, lubricants, cycle times and forging steels. The
effect of process variables on die failure needs to be understood and modeled. Effect of
heat treatment and surface treatments on physical properties that control die failure
needs to be quantified. Thermo-mechanical conditions during forging need to be studied
and used as a starting point to predict failure. The goals Ohio States University’s group
for increased die life set for itself towards achieving this objective were
• Assemble and if necessary, generate necessary data and consolidate information
into a database
• Assemble necessary information on coatings and surface engineering that have
potential use in precision forging
• Develop correlation between die material properties and common failure modes
• Develop models based on the database, to direct advances towards new die
materials

Towards these objectives, the group has performed the following tasks.
• Reviewed the state of the art in die materials, coatings and surface treatment
• Collected available information on properties that are necessary to predict die failure
• Reviewed different fundamental failure mechanisms and appropriate models to
evaluate failure rates

In this report, the OSU team have reviewed the state of the art in materials, surface
engineering techniques and advanced concepts that have either been tried in forging or
have the potential to improve die lives in precision forging. Appropriate information that
was gathered is presented. Gaps have been identified that will be fixed in future either
through surveys or through laboratory testing. A frame work for incorporating the
available data into existing models has been proposed. The team will build on this
framework to create an Intelligent Software for Prediction of Die Failure.

13
2. A BRIEF REVIEW OF FAILURE OF FORGING
DIES
Depending on the conditions of the process and the characteristics of the material and
surface conditions, one could encounter various modes of tool failure. These are:
• Wear (abrasive, adhesive and oxidation)
• Thermal fatigue or heat checking
• Mechanical fatigue
• Plastic deformation

Of these, wear (abrasive and adhesive) and mechanical failures are the most common
forms of failure (Figure 2.1). Of the two mode of wear, abrasive wear is the more
common form of wear. Adhesive wear is not very common in hot and warm forging of
steels because of the presence of lubricant film and/or scales and oxide layer. It does
become a mode of die wear when the lubricant film is non-existent either because there
is no lubricant application or when excessive sliding and deformation thins the
lubricant film. Good tooling design and material selection can overcome gross cracking
and mechanical fatigue. Thermal fatigue, in almost all cases, serves as a catalyst to
accelerate abrasive wear.

The main physical phenomenon that control the abrasive wear in a metallic surface
sliding past another surface are relative sliding distance, normal pressure and hardness
of the surface. Design of forging dies, choice of forging and heating equipment, die
material selection and surface treatments used have a tremendous effect on the wear
characteristics as these factors affect one or more of the controlling fundamental
physical phenomena. This relationship is illustrated in Figures 2.2 and 2.3.

Figure 2-1. Frequency and location of typical die failures in forging (Cser, Geiger et al.
1993)

14
Figure 2-2. Complex interaction of forging parameters and wear Artinger, (Cser,
Geiger et al. 1993)

Figure 2-3. Some aspects of forging and process design that affect wear and fracture
Lange, K in (Cser, Geiger et al. 1993)

15
From the above illustrations, the factors affecting die failure can be subdivided into
• Tooling Issues – Die material selection, heat treatment, surface engineering, die
manufacture and design
• Billet Issues – Billet preparation, steel type
• Process Issues – Forging temperature, lubricant type and application, forging cycle
times and other forging practices

Effects of various process parameters and billet materials are described in Appendix A.
The team felt that these, by careful choice of physical constants like heat transfer
coefficients, friction factors and yield strengths obtained either through past work or
new but well understood testing, one can model and recreate the process using Finite
Element Method (FEM). FEM would provide forging designers stress-strain cycling,
temperature history at a die location and sliding velocities – factors that cause die
failure. The relationship between these factors and rate of die failure are discussed in
section 7. Section 3,4, 5 and 6 discuss material properties, heat treatment and surface
engineering necessary to evaluate a materials capability to resist failure.

16
3. MATERIAL FOR FORGING DIES
Die material selection is possibly the biggest factor that affects the life of dies in a hot or
warm forging operation. There is a large variety of tool steels available in the market
that can be used for hot and warm forging applications. These steels could be
categorized as low alloy tool steels (Groups 6G, 6F, 6H), air-hardening medium alloy
tool steels (A2, A7-A9), chromium hot work steel (H-10 – H-19), tungsten hot work
steels (H20-H26), and molybdenum hot work steels (H41-H43).
Selection of die material grade (steel composition and microstructure distribution) and
subsequent heat treatment play a key role in failure of dies. These properties completely
define the thermal and mechanical properties that affect the mode of failure and the
rate of tool failure. In this section, we will go over the main classifications of tool steel
grades and characteristics of incoming tool steel – alloying composition, physical and
mechanical properties. A short section will also discuss new non-steel based
superalloys available in the market.
A comprehensive classification of tool steels by the American Iron and Steel Institute
(AISI) is presented in tables 3.1 and 3.2 (Roberts, Krauss et al. 1998). The groups are
based on alloying elements and applications. Steels that are not temperature resistant
are generally not used in making the forging dies. However, they used in other parts of
the die set like the bolster and spacers.

Table 3-1. AISI classification and composition of tool steels (Roberts, Krauss et al.
1998)

3.1. HOT WORK DIE STEELS


Hot work die steels are classified into 3 different categories (Roberts, Krauss et al. 1998)
based on their alloy content. These can be:
Chromium based
Tungsten or Molybdenum based
Steels where tungsten and chromium are approximately in equal proportion
Most hot work steels are low carbon steels with medium or high alloying elements.
Table 3.2 lists some of the more commonly used hot work steels. Table 3.3 lists some of
the common grades of chromium die steels. Table 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6 lists some common
grades of Chromium – Molybdenum, Chromium-Tungsten, Tungsten and Molybdenum
hot work steels (Roberts, Krauss et al. 1998).

17
COMMERTIAL NAME AISI C Ni Si W Cr V Mo Co OTHER
THYROTHERM 2343 EFS H11 0.38 1.0 5.3 0.4 1.3
CARTECH 882
CRU HALCOMB 218
THYROTHERM 2344 ESF H13 0.40 1.0 5.3 1.0 1.4
CARTECH 833; PLUS
UDD OVAR SUP
CRU NUDIE V; CPM-NUDIE EZ
FIN DC + XTRA
FIN SHELLDIE - 0.36 1.0 5.0 0.3 1.85 Mn0.75
FIN SHELLEX - 0.36 0.9 5.0 0.25 2.85 Mn0.6
THYROTHERM 2365 EFS H10 0.32 3.0 0.5 2.8
THYROTHERM 2367 EFS 0.37 5.0 0.6 3.0
CARTECH 879 H19 0.4 0.3 4.25 4.25 2.1 0.45 4.25 Mn0.4
CRU HALCOM 425
THYROTHERM 2581 H21 0.30 8.5 2.6 0.4
CRU PEERLESS A
CRU CHRO-MOW H12 0.35 1.0 1.3 5.0 0.35 1.3
THYROTHERM 2606 EFS H12 0.36 1.3 5.3 0.3 1.5
THYROTHERM 2713 6F2 0.55 1.7 0.7 0.1 0.3
THYROTHERM 2714 6F3 0.56 1.7 1.1 0.1 0.5
FINK DURODI (VI.F3) 0.55 1.55 0.5 1.00 0.8 Mn0.6
FIN FX-XTRA (VI.F2) 0.5 0.9 0.25 1.15 0.5 Mn0.85
THYROTHERM 2307 ~4340 0.31 - 2.4 0.2 0.2
CRU 4340 4340 0.4 1.85 0.8 - 0.25
THYROTHERM 2742 0.56 0.5 1.0 0.1 0.4
THYROTHERM 2744 0.57 1.7 1.1 0.1 0.8
FIN PRESS-DIE - 0.2 3.25 0.25 3.35 Mn0.7
CRU MARLOK - 0.01 18.0 5.0 11.0 0.3Ti
THYROTHERM 2799 0.02 12.0 8.0 8.0 0.5Ti
THYROTHERM 2885 EFS H10A 0.3 3.0 0.5 2.8 3.0
CRU WR95 H10M 0.35 3.5 0.6 2.5 2.0
THYRODUR 2379 D2 1.55 1.0 12.0 1.0 0.7
CARTECH 610
UDD SVERKER 21 PM ~D2
CARTECH 880 A9 0.5 1.5 1.0 5.0 1.0 1.4 Mn0.3
CRU CRUCIBLE A9
CARTECH EXTENDO-DIE - 0.44 1.0 6.0 0.8 1.9 Mn0.45
CARTECH PYROTOUGH - 0.4 4.45 0.8 2.05 Mn0.45
CARTECH DURA-FORM - 0.65 1.4 4.0 1.5 2.5 Mn0.5
CARTECH PYROTOOL V - 0.04 27.0 0.25 14.5 0.2 1.25 Mn0.25
Ti 3.0
CARTECH AERMET - 0.23 11.1 3.0 1.2 13.4
CRU CPM V3 - 0.8 7.5 2.75 1.3
CRU CPM 9V - 1.78 5.25 9 1.3
UDD VANADIS 4 - 1.54 0.09 0.91 8.03 3.9 1.53 Mn0.32
FIN WF-XTRA - 0.42 0.8 0.5 2.5 0.08 1.00 Mn075
UDD QRO 90 SUPREME - 0.39 0.3 2.6 0.8 2.3 Mn0.75

Table 3-2 List of hot work tool steels and other materials commercially available in US

18
Table 3-3. Compositions of some commercially available hot work steels
Table AISI C Mn Si W Cr V Mo
510 .95 0.30 0.30 4.0
511 .95 0.30 0.30 4.0 0.50 0.50
512 .60 0.30 0.30 4.0 0.75 0.50
513 S7 .50 0.70 0.30 3.25 1.40
514 .50 0.30 0.90 3.25 0.25 1.40

Table 3-5. Class 510. Chromium die steel (Roberts, Krauss et al. 1998).

Type AISI C Mn Si Cr Ni V Mo W
520 H-11 0.35 0.30 1.00 5.00 0.40 1.50
521 H-13 0.35 0.30 1.00 5.00 1.00 1.50
522 H-12 0.35 0.30 1.00 5.00 0.40 1.50 1.50
523 0.40 0.60 1.00 3.50 1.00 1.00 1.25
524 H-10 0.40 0.55 1.00 3.25 0.40 2.50
525 0.35 0.30 1.00 5.00 2.00

Table 3-6. Class 520. Chromium – Molybdenum die steels (Roberts, Krauss et al.
1998).

Type AISI C Mn Si Cr V W Mo Co
530 H14 0.40 0.30 1.00 5.00 0.25 5.00 0.25 0.50
531 H19 0.40 0.30 0.30 4.25 2.00 4.25 0.40 4.25
532 0.45 0.75 1.00 5.00 0.50 3.75 1.00 0.50
533 0.35 0.60 1.50 7.25 7.25
534 0.45 0.60 1.50 7.25 7.25
535 H16 0.55 0.60 0.90 7.00 7.00
536 H23 0.30 0.30 0.50 12.00 1.00 12.00

Table 3-7. Class 530. Chromium – Tungsten die steels (Roberts, Krauss et al. 1998).

Type AISI C Mn Si Cr Ni V Co W Mo
540 H21 0.35 0.30 0.30 3.50 0.50 9.00
541 H20 0.35 0.30 0.30 2.00 0.50 9.00
542 0.30 0.30 0.30 2.75 1.75 0.30 10.00 0.25
543 H22 0.35 0.30 0.30 2.00 0.40 11.00
544 0.30 0.30 0.30 2.50 0.40 3.60 12.00
545 H25 0.25 0.30 0.30 4.00 1.00 15.00
546 0.40 0.30 0.30 3.50 0.40 14.00
547 H24 0.45 0.30 0.30 3.00 0.50 15.00
548 0.35 0.30 0.30 4.00 2.50 14.00 2.00
549 H26 0.50 0.30 0.30 4.00 1.00 18.00

Table 3-8. Class 540. Tungsten die steels (Roberts, Krauss et al. 1998).

Type AISI C Mn Si Cr Ni V W Mo Co
550 H15 0.35 0.30 0.40 3.75 0.75 1.00 6.00
551 H15 0.40 0.30 0.50 5.00 0.75 1.00 5.00
552 H43 0.55 0.30 0.30 4.00 2.00 8.00
553 H42 0.65 0.30 0.30 4.00 2.00 6.40 5.00
554 H41 0.65 0.30 0.30 4.00 1.00 1.50 8.00
555 0.30 0.50 0.30 3.00 3.00
556 0.10 0.30 0.30 3.50 0.50 4.00 5.00 25.00

Table 3-9. Class 540. Tungsten die steels (Roberts, Krauss et al. 1998).

19
3.2. PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES
OF VARIOUS TOOL STEELS
In modeling, analyzing and predicting die failure, the knowledge of the physical and
mechanical properties is very important. Knowledge of these properties is necessary to
both understand the reasons for die failure as well as perform forging simulations by
finite element methods (FEM). Tool steels used for hot forming should possess the
following properties.

3.2.1 RESISTANCE TO DEFORMATION AT HIGH


TEMPERATURES

(a) (b)

Figure 3-1. (a) Variation of hardness of die steel of H-12 and 6F2 with tempering
times. H-12 used was austenetized from 1040 C with as quenched hardness of 584
VPN, 6F2 was austenetized from 850 °C with as quenched hardness of 601 VPN (b)
Variation yield strength of different tool steels with temperatures. (Nagpal 1976)

20
a) b)

Figure 3-2. Yield strength and hardness versus temperature for several tool steels
(Norstrom, Johansson et al. 1981)

Figure 3-3. Variation of yield strength with temperature (Semiatin and Lahoti 1981)

21
Figure 3-4. Mechanical resistance versus test temperature expressed in two forms for
the H13 and a new hot work tool steel (QRO90) (Roberts and Norstrom 1987)

a) b)

Figure 3-5 Yield strength and ductility versus test temperature (A5) elongation (Z)
area reduction. a) H13 and b) QRO90 (Uddeholm )

22
H12 H11

H10 H21

6F3

Figure 3-6 Tensile strength and ductility versus test temperature for steels from H13
group (H12, H11, H10), plus and high alloy, H21, and a low alloy group 6F3 (Thyssen
).

23
3.2.2 RESISTANCE TO MECHANICAL SHOCK AND
FATIGUE

Figure 3-7. Variation of Charpy toughness with different hardness levels and testing
temperatures on of hot work die steels (values in parentheses indicate hardness at
room temperature) (Nagpal 1976)

Figure 3-8 Variation of toughness for several tool steels in function of hardness and
yield strength (Cser, Geiger et al. 1993)

24
Figure 3-9. Variation of toughness for several tool steels in function of hardness and
yield strength (Shivpuri and Semiatin 1988)

Figure 3-10 Comparison of toughness properties for H13, H21 and a new hot work
tool steel QRO80M versus test temperature (Johansson, Jonsson et al. 1985).

25
a) b)

c)

Figure 3-11 Comparison of toughness KIC and Charpy V-notch for several tool steels.
a) KIC for three bar size, longitudinal direction, the small diameters represent
reduction from the bigger diameter; b) Charpy V-notch longitudinal and transversal c)
KIC for H13 in function of the hardness, austenitized at 1024°C, time 25 min, air
cooled (Hemphill and Wert 1987).

a) b)

Figure 3-12 Toughness versus test temperature for a) H13 and b) QRO90 (Uddeholm )

26
3.2.3 RESISTANCE TO THERMAL SOFTENING

(a) (b)

Figure 3-13.(a) Variation of hardness with temperature for H-11, H-12, H-13, H-14
and Pyrovan. Measurements were made after holding samples for 30 minutes for
homogenization (b) Resistance of hot work dies steels to thermal softening as
measured by the room temperature hardness (Nagpal 1976)

a) b)

Figure 3-14 Comparison of properties for H13 and a new hot work tool steel QRO80M
versus test temperature (a) standard tempering curve (Johansson, Jonsson et al.
1985). (b) Master tempering curve for premium H13 were: P= Larsom-Miller
parameter, T is temperature (°F), t is time in hours (Carpenter )

27
Figure 3-15 Thermal expansion for several tool steels versus temperature (Roberts,
Krauss et al. 1998)

28
3.2.4 DUCTILITY

Figure 3-16. Ductility of various die steels at high temperatures (Nagpal 1976)

Figure 3-17 Comparison of ductility for H13, H21 and a new hot work tool steel
QRO80M versus test temperature (Johansson, Jonsson et al. 1985).

Apart from these, because of practical reasons, they need to possess good machinability
and resistance to warping during heat treatment. Die material’s resistance to plastic
deformation depends on how well it retains its hardness with temperature. It also
depends on its yield strength. Resistance to mechanical shock relies on the material
having good fracture toughness commonly measured in Charpy V-notch testing units.

29
Resistance to wear depends on tempering resistance with temperature indicated by
hardness measurements at elevated temperatures. Resistance to heat checking
depends on the material having high ductility, good tempering resistance, high yield
strength and low thermal expansion. High heat conductivity and low thermal expansion
coefficient in die materials is desirable because it reduces the temperature gradient or
associated thermal strains that is the cause of thermal fatigue and shock. It is also
desirable that the steel retains all its properties for an extended period under elevated
temperatures. The resistance of a die steel to thermal softening mainly depends on its
alloying constituents and its distribution. The tempering characteristics of these tool
steels obtained under laboratory condition represents very well the die material’s
resistance to thermal softening.

Section below shows some critical physical and mechanical properties of hot work steels
that impact one or more of the properties listed above. Information in tables figure 3.1
to figure 3.10 have been compiled from a variety of sources.

30
3.3. MARAGING AND OTHER STEELS
Maraging steels are relatively new group of steels that was primarily developed for
aerospace applications. It has high nickel, cobalt and molybdenum content but very
little carbon. After austenitiztion and quenching the steel, the structure is soft nickel
martensite or similar soft structure with typical hardness of 30 – 40 Rc. Aging this
matrix at temperatures around 500° C results in dispersed precipitation of intermetallic
phases. This precipitation is not concentrated at the grain boundary alone. This
dramatically increases the strength without unduly affecting the toughness. Its high
resistance to thermal shock and high toughness makes it a good candidate for dies
where the mode of failure is heat checking. Maraging steels, used in die casting
industry, is not very common in forging industry.

3.3.1 COMPOSITION
Type Ni Co Mo Ti Al C* Si* Mn* S* P*
I-VascoMax C-200 18.5 8.5 3.25 0.2 .1 .03 .10 .10 .01 .01
II- VascoMax C-250 18.5 7.5 4.8 0.4 .1 .03 .10 .10 .01 .01
III-VascoMax C-300 18.5 9 4.8 .6 .1 .03 .10 .10 .01 .01
IV-VascoMax C-350 18 11.8 4.6 1.35 .1 .03 .10 .10 .01 .01
HWM (+) 2 11 7.5 - - .05 .10 .10 .01 .01
X2NiCoMoTi 12 8 8 12 8 8 .5 .5 .03 .10 .10 .01 .01
Thyrotherm 2799
Marlock(Cr0.2) 18.0 11.0 5.0 0.3 0.01 0.1 0.01 0.01

Table 3-7 Composition of common maraging steels, VascoMax is a trade name of


Teledyne, (*) indicates maximum allowed content, (+) trademark of Crucible steel

3.3.2 PROPERTIES

a) b)
(contd.)

31
c)

Figure 3-18 (a) Master tempering curve, T is temperature in Kelvin, t is time in hours
(b) hot hardness of HWM compared to H- 13 (Kasak and Steven 1970) (c) aging curves

a) b)

Figure 3-19 Properties versus test temperature of maragins steels compared with H13
(a) hardness (b) Yield strength and ductility (Bayer 1984)

32
a) b)

c)

Figure 3-20 Properties on a maraging steels 18 Ni 300 and H13. (a) Hot-hardness of
measured after holding at the testing temperatures for 30 min. (b) tensile properties
versus testing temperatures c) toughness of versus test temperature (Barry, Wills et
al. 1968)

33
a) b)

c) d)

Figure 3-21 Properties of a hot work maraging steel compared with H13 group and
thermal fatigue results: a) fields of austenite and martensite in function of
temperature showing the effect of Ni% (Brandis and Haberling 1987) (b) aging curves
for 18%Ni and 12%Ni c) thermal fatigue resistance for H13 group and a maraging
steel (d) Hot yield strength (Gehricke 1993; Gehricke, Klarenfjork et al. 1995)

Figure 3-22 Comparison of toughness Charpy V-notched for a H13 steel and a
maraging steel (Marlock) at two test temperatures (Dorsch 1991)

34
3.4. SUPERALLOYS
Nickel, cobalt and iron based superalloys are another group of die materials that has
excellent potential in hot precision forging. This group of materials have extremely high
temperature strength and thermal softening. Like maraging steels, this group of
materials gets its strength from precipitation strengthening of intermetallic compounds
like Ni3Al. Tables 3.8 provide a comprehensive list of superalloys and its composition.
There are 4 primary group of superalloys. They are:

Iron-based alloys. This group comprise of die steels like H-46 and Inconel 706 and
contain over 12% of Chromium. Small amounts of Molybdenum and Tungsten provide
the matrix with high temperature strength. Iron based superalloys also include
austenitic steels with high chromium and nickel content. This group can be used in
applications where dies could heat up to 1200°F.

Nickel-Iron based alloys. This group of alloy contains 24-27% nickel, 10-15%
chromium and 50-60% iron along with small quantities of Molybdenum, Titanium and
Vanadium. The carbon content in these alloys is very small, typically less than .1%.
Nickel based alloys. This group of alloys contains virtually no iron. The primary
constituent of these alloys are nickel (50-80%), chromium(20%) and combination of
molybdenum, aluminum, tungsten, cobalt and columbium. These grades again, get
their strength from solid solution strengthening and can be put to service at
temperatures up to 2200° F. Example of nickel-based superalloys are Waspalloy,
Udimet 500 and Inconel 718.

Cobalt based alloys. This group of alloys are more ductile than the other groups.
Again, these are age hardenable alloys whose primary constituents are Nickel, Iron,
Chromium, Tungsten and Cobalt. These can be used in applications where it could
reach 1900° F.

a) b)

Figure 3-23. Ductility and toughness versus test temperature (Semiatin and Lahoti
1981)

35
Figure 3-24. Mechanical properties expressed as hardness and Yield strength versus
test temperature (Semiatin and Lahoti 1981)

a) b)

c) d)

Figure 3-25. Compilation of several properties versus test temperature for superalloys
from Ohuchi (Ohuchi 1990). a) hardness b) thermal expansion c-d) Ultimate tensile
strength and Yield stress.

36
a)

37
b)

Table 3-10 Tables with a compilation of classification and composition for several
superalloys and aging alloys; a-b (Semiatin and Lahoti 1981).

38
4. DIE BLOCK MANUFACTURING AND HEAT
TREATMENT

4.1. DIE BLOCK MANUFACTURING: CLEANLINESS


AND MICROSTRUCTURE
The first step in ensuring die quality is to make sure tool steel that is purchased has
the correct composition and structure. Two of the main properties that dictate the
performance of a die material are its ductility and the toughness. These properties are
affected in varying degree, by the quality of tool steel. Figure 4.1 shows that the
cleanliness of the steel has a very pronounced effect on the ductility of the steel. On the
contrary, the heat treatment the steel is subjected to has a big impact on the resulting
toughness. The charpy V-notch values indicate the toughness measured and the
unnotched test measures the ductility of tool steel. The steel making process has a
strong effect on the following:
• Cleanliness of the steel produced, number and size of non-metallic inclusions
• Eutectic carbide size and number
• Microbanding and segregation of alloying elements
There are several tool steel making processes used currently like conventional or
electric arc, vacuum arc remelting (VAR) and electro-slag remelting (ESR) processes.
These processes are capable of producing at different levels of cleanliness. In general,
oxides and sulfides are detrimental to the toughness and ductility of tool steel
produced. Figure 4.2 illustrates the effect of sulfur content on the transverse fracture
toughness of H-13 dies. Low levels of oxygen are achieved using vacuum degassing and
advanced deoxidization methods. Any resulting oxides are reduced in size by
subsequent electro slag remelting process. Smaller inclusions are less detrimental to
the ensuing mechanical properties. Low levels of sulfur are achieved via ladle-refining
techniques and / or electro-slag remelting (ESR);

Figure 4-1. Schematic comparison of ductility (Charpy unnotched) and toughness


(Charpy V notch) versus temperature, room temperature (RT) (Norstrom 1989)

39
Figure 4-2. Effect of sulfur content on the transverse fracture toughness of H-13 die
steel (Roberts and Norstrom 1987).

Primary or eutectic carbides can reduce the transversal ductility if present in sufficient
size and amount. This carbide forms in the last stages of solidification an elongate
during the hot work reducing the ductility and toughness, specially in the transverse
section. Figure 4.3a shows the effect of coarse grain boundary carbides in annealed tool
steel on the toughness of H-13 after it is heat-treated. Here, it shows that the carbide
inclusions were too large to be dissolved during the austenitizing phase. Figure 4.13b
shows the dramatic effect of cleanliness of die steel and mechanical processing
performed on the ingot, on the final toughness of H-13 and H-11 hot work tool steel.
The figure 4.4a illustrate how the amount of carbides reduce the ductility in the
standard H13; notice that the compositions are similar and the standard H13 has low
level of oxygen and sulfur. Figure 4.4 (b) illustrates the effect of inclusions and carbides
for two premium H13 grades (OMS1,2) and a standard H13. The annealed
microstructure of all three grades (inclusion content provided in Table 4.1) were
considered acceptable by standards established by various organizations like Chrysler
(Chrysler-NP 2080) and German tool steel specification(VDG Datasheet M82). It is again
noted that the ductility was greatly reduced by the inclusions in the transversal
direction.

a) b)

Figure 4-3. Effect of coarse grain boundary carbides from annealed tool steel on the
toughness at elevated temperatures. Measurements were made after quenching and
tempering (Becker, Fuchs et al. 1989) b) Combined influence of clean processing and
extra fine structure (EFS) on toughness (Becker 1984).

40
a) b)

Figure 4-4 (a) Effect of carbides on ductility of standard H-13 (b) Effect of carbides
and inclusions on ductility. (Roberts and Norstrom 1987)

Sulphides Alumina Silicates Globular Number of


OMS1 0 0 0 oxides
1 carbides
11
OMS2 0 1 0 1 8
H13 0.5 2.5 0 1.5 99

Table 4-1. Cleanliness of steels used by Roberts and Nostrum (Roberts and Norstrom
1987)

Microbanding and segregation are features found in annealed die steel under an optical
microscope that indicates segregation of alloying elements. Annealed structures were
classified by European and American associations in tables that define what is
acceptable and what is not. These classifications base the criterion for rejection on
presence of acicular structure, grain size and banding. However, Roberts and Norstrom
(Roberts and Norstrom 1987) and Kogler and Schindler (Kogler, Breitler et al. 1989)
showed that these classifications can be inaccurate. They concluded that the “acicular”
appearance is due to the carbide distribution resulting from a bainitic structure prior to
annealing. They also concluded that banding that reflect segregation of the principal
alloying elements Cr, Mo, and V, do not necessarily translate into poor ductility after
heat treatment. However, if eutectic carbides line up along the bands, it will reduce the
toughness and the ductility of the tool steel. Becker (Becker, Fuchs et al. 1989) shows
the effect of long-term diffusion annealing on reduction of micro-segregation. He found
that by improving the isotropy he could achieve better toughness and ductility in the
transverse direction.
The crack initiation by thermal or mechanical stress-strain loading is directly
dependent on the ductility. The crack growth depends of the toughness, however better
ductility also reduces the crack growth. Details of the mechanism are provided in the
section on thermal fatigue. Figure 4.5 clearly shows the relationship between ductility
and thermal fatigue. Both the grades A and B have the same chemical composition.
Samples were taken in three orthogonal directions (transverse, longitudinal and second
transverse). The table clearly shows that the lower the ductility, lower is the thermal
fatigue resistance.

41
a) b)

∑a
Tensile in S direction Absorbed energy VW orienta Heat N0/in amax
center Center (ft.lbs) ductility tion checki
ng rate
103in
Bar Rp0.2( A5 Z L T S
Ksi)
A 174 6.6 16 169 102 52 L 8 355 18 61
T 10 635 23 89
S 15 480 30 83
B 180 10 40 216 213 212 L 5 230 11 31
T 6 355 19 65
S 8 330 17 49
c)

Figure 4-5 Relation between samples orientation, ductility and thermal fatigue A5
elongation, Z area reduction, VW unnotched European sample for impact test a,b,c
(Roberts and Norstrom 1987)

42
4.2. CAVITY MANUFACTURE: MACHINING AND
EDM
Die manufacturing techniques, to some extent impact the fatigue and wear life of
forging dies. Most round dies are turned on CNC lathes. Dies that are semi-cylindrical
are semi-finished on lathes and finished on mills or EDM machines. Non-round dies
are either machined on mills or burned using wire or plunge EDM machines. Dies may
be ground or polished after machining.
Cavity manufacturing does not have as big an impact on the performance of a precision
forging die. However, there are a few issues that need to be taken into account in the
manufacture of cavity, that may affect the life and quality of dies made. They are:
1. Grinding feeds and speeds
2. Load or current levels used in EDM
3. Machining capabilities
There are some studies illustrating the effect of incorrect choice of grinding parameters
(Roberts and Robert 1980). Roberts notes that if the grinding thickness in a single
grinding pass is high, it may result in thermal cracks on the surface. If these dies are
put into service in a hot working environment, it may result in premature failure of dies.
Malm (Malm, Svensson et al. 1979) reports that a rougher surface causes a higher
surface crack density but does not result in higher crack depths or crack propagation
rate in thermal fatigue tests. Grinding can also form a soft re-tempered surface
although literature is poor in quantifying this effect.
Incorrect choice of EDM parameters causes surface defects like micro cracking, white
layer, and melted regions on the surface of dies. These defects were shown to decrease
thermal fatigue resistance in a series of work (Young 1968; Suzuki, Ishihara et al.
1972; Young 1979; Wallbank and Phadke 1982; Nichols and Dorsch 1984; Becker,
Fuchs et al. 1989; Centa and Wallace 1989; Dorsch 1991; Gehricke 1993; Kim and
Wallace 1994; Schwam and Wallace 1995; Venkatesan, Subramanium et al. 1997).
Figure 4.6 illustrates the drop in hardness of the refrozen layer with increase in the
current used.

Figure 4-6. Effect of EDM process in die surface; refrozen layer and thermal cracks
(Cser, Geiger et al. 1993)

43
Although literature is poor in quantifying this effect, as EDM surface weakens with the
surface defects, it reduces the dies’ wear resistance (Wallbank and Phadke 1982). It
has also been proven that the EDM layer (refrozen, over-tempered, brittle) reduces the
thermal fatigue resistance (Kim and Wallace 1994). As the thermal fatigue cracks form,
the die surface layer becomes more prone to wear. The Figure 4-7 exemplifies damaged
layer (cracks and refrozen) caused by EDM process.
Dorsch (Dorsch 1991) showed that for the H13 and H10-A the layers under the “white
layer” is softer due to over-tempering. Rough EDM process forms a overtempered layer
that is approximately 0.003in thick. This becomes thinner with finishing EDM. The
author shows hardness loss in a range of 2-10HRC in the over-tempered layer.

Figure 4-7. Surface of dies after EDM, H13 and maraging steel (Marlock) (Dorsch
1991).

When a maraging steel (Marlock) is aged before EDM, its subsurface also loses some
hardness (about 10 HRc). However, when a maraging steel die is aged after EDM, the
loss in the hardness of the subsurface is only 2 Rc. Its white layer is soft and ductile
because it is in a solution condition. The surface cracks are fewer in number. When
the dies are aged after EDM, the subsurface and the white layer reach harnesses within
2-3 HRc of the parent material. The surface of EDMed maraging steel dies are lot
cleaner compared to a EDMed H-13 or H-10 die, Figure 4.7.

Walbank (Wallbank and Phadke 1982) shows results from fatigue tests that
demonstrate the reduced fatigue resistance of EDM specimen. The use of multiple steps
of decreasing EDM energy, tempering, and mechanical grinding to remove the affected
recast layer are different ways to avoid the loss in thermal fatigue resistance of EDMed
dies.

High performance machining is another alternative to EDM. Traditional machining


technology is not capable of machining die steel hardened to 445 Rc or above. With
newer cutting tools available in the market, it is now possible, to machine pre-hardened
die blocks. By machining pre-hardened die blocks, one can avoid heat-treat distortions
of the die cavity. Also, this reduces the lead times involved in die making.

44
4.3. HEAT TREATMENT: AUSTENIZING,
QUENCHING AND TEMPERING
Precision forging process subjects the dies to extreme conditions of pressure,
temperature variations. It is our objective to achieve the best combination of properties
– toughness, ductility and hardness to both resist the wear and thermal fatigue on dies
at the same time reduce the chance of catastrophic failure. Once a die material is
purchased to specification and the die cavity manufactured, the heat treatment it is
subjected to has a dramatic effect on the properties of the die material. Understanding
the effects of various elements of heat-treatment should guide the heat-treat
specification on the die. Our goal in this report is to discuss the various issues involved
in heat treatment from a hot forging perspective.
Before selection of a die material for an application, it is imperative to know what a
material is capable of and the performance levels we can aspire for. Alloying elements
like Chromium, Nickel, Vanadium and Molybdenum play a dramatic role in determining
the range of physical and mechanical properties one can expect from the material. If
properly heat-treated, high alloy die materials are capable of delivering high wear
resistance by retaining its hardness at higher temperatures. In general, if a lower alloy
die material is used, for similar toughness, the wear resistance that one can expect
would be lower. Any attempt to heat treat the material to a higher hardness could
potentially lead to catastrophic failure of dies by reducing the toughness. On the other
hand, if we do not make use of the wear resistance a die material is capable of by heat-
treating it to high toughness values, we may not be utilizing the full potential of the
material.
Heat treatment of die steels involves the following steps:

1. After dies are made, it is heated to austenitizing temperature. Austenitizing


temperatures for hot work tool steels range anywhere from 1000° C - 1500° C. During
this phase, the structure of steel transforms from ferrite-pearlite structure to austenite.
2. The dies are held at these temperatures for an extended period. This is the “soak” or
“hold” time. During this stage, the structure becomes uniformly austenitic. Carbides of
alloying elements go into solution.

3. After soaking, the dies are quenched in a quench medium to temperatures below the
transformation temperature. During this phase, based on the cooling rate different
regions of die experiences, transforms into different phases. Martensite is the ideal final
structure, however in practice lower bainite, upper bainite, pearlite or retained
austenite can be present in the structures, specially in blocks with big section.

4. Tempering is the next stage of heat treatment. Here, martensite formed as a result of
quenching is tempered to a tougher structure. This could be done in more than one
steps to maximize the toughness achieved, without sacrificing hardness.
These stages in heat treating a tool steel die is illustrated in Figure 4.8.

45
Figure 4-8. Heat treatment cycle of hot working steels (Krauss 1995).

4.3.1 AUSTENITZATION AND SOAKING


Austenitization is the phase of heat treating tool steels where structure of steel is
converted to austenite. This is typically done in one or 2 stages and is performed in a
austenitizing furnace. Issues that affect the physical and mechanical properties during
austenitization phase are as follows-
• Number of stages and rate of heating
• Soaking temperature or the maximum austenitizing temperature
• Soaking or holding time
• Furnace and atmosphere
The first step of the hardening is austenitization, a two-phase region that contain
austenite and undissolved carbides. The austenitizing temperature and the time at the
temperature will determine the amount of carbides dissolved in the austenite and
consequently its composition. Higher austenitizing temperatures result in dies with
lower amounts of primary carbides. Dissolved carbides enrich the austenite structure
with carbon and alloying elements reducing primary carbides. During quenching, these
carbides in solution can precipitate as grain boundary carbides reducing the toughness.
Higher austenitizing temperatures move the carbon precipitation line to the left
increasing their amount for the same quenching rate. Figure 4.9 illustrates the
reduction in toughness with austenitizing temperatures.

Enriched austenitic matrix result in a carbon rich martensite, which is stronger.


Hence, higher austenitic temperatures result in a structure with higher yield strength.
Figure 4.10 shows the effect of austenitizing temperatures and times on the as
quenched hardness of a H-13. Figure 4.10 also shows the grain size as a function of
soaking temperature and holding times. It is obvious that the effect of temperature on
these parameters is more pronounced than the effect of time. Equation 4.1 presented in
Stuhl (Stuhl and Breitler 1987) also illustrates this point clearly.

HP = T ( 24 + log t ) Equation 4-1

-HT is the hardening parameter


-T is the hardening temperature in Kelvin
-t is the time at the hardening temperature in minutes

46
Enriched austenitic matrix result in a carbon rich martensite, which is stronger.
Hence, higher austenitic temperatures result in a structure with higher yield strength.
Figure 4.9 and 11 show the effect of austenitizing temperatures of the as quenched
hardness of some typical hot work die steels. Figure 4.9 also illustrates the higher yield
obtained as a result of increasing the austenitic temperatures. The enriched matrix
also lowers the Ms temperature below which martensite is formed. This increases the
tendency to form retained austenite on quenching. Figure 4.12 shows the effect of
carbon on the Ms temperatures. Higher retained austenite may necessitate more
tempering time or temperature or both. For precision hot forging applications the
retained austenite is harmful because it can transform into undesirable phases during
the die working. Retained austenite transforms into cementite and ferrite, or
untempered martensite, with the increase in the tempering temperature. These phases
lead to toughness reduction because untempered martensite is fragile and the
formation to cementite and ferrite can produce elongated interlath carbides detrimental
to the toughness (Krauss 1995).

Higher temperature and longer soak times also increase the prior austenite grain size.
Longer soak times also increases the risk of decarburization at the surface. Larger prior
austenite grain size will result in larger grain sizes in the heat-treated dies. Bigger grain
size, in general is considered detrimental to the strength and toughness of a matrix.
Smaller austenitic grain size also increases the toughness by shifting the DBTT to the
right.

47
Figure 4-9. Influence of austenitizing temperature in properties versus tempering
temperature; Tensile strength, ductility and toughness are represented for H13 and
Dim 2367 hot work steel (Becker, Fuchs et al. 1989).

The rate of heating and the number of stages used to austenitize is typically controlled
so that the core and the surface heats up uniformly. This reduces distortion and
maintains uniform microstructure throughout the die block. It is desirable to equalize
the die temperature at lower temperatures where the grain growth is minimal. If one
attempts to equalize the dies after they have reached the normalizing temperatures, the
grain size at the surface could get too large compared to the core grains. Also, it is
desirable to equalize the die block during transformation (around 1500-1600° F). Again,
this ensures uniform structure and low distortion.

There are several furnaces available for austenitizing. Austenitizing furnaces could be
one of the following.

• Vacuum Furnaces

48
• Atmosphere-sealed furnaces
• Fluidized bed
• Salt bath

Vacuum furnaces can lead to uneven heating and distortion, but decarburization and
oxidation is very well controlled. Because of the uneven heating rates, if one requires
the dies to be uniform, the heat treater must employ multiple thermocouples to track
temperatures of core and surface. Atmosphere-sealed gas furnaces uses nitrogen
and/or endothermic gas to rapidly heat the dies. Because heat is transferred by
convection, heat transfer is uniform. Fluidized bed furnaces heat the dies by
suspending them in a bed of fluidized gas. Heating is uniform and fast, but the surface
could become carburized. Salt bath furnaces suspend the dies in molten salt. Again,
this process provides uniform heating but could corrode, oxidize or decarburize the
surface.

Figure 4-10. Effect of austenitizing temperatures on ASTM grain size and as-quenched
Vickers hardness of H-13 (Stuhl and Breitler 1987).

49
Figure 4-11 Effect of austenitizing temperatures on as quenched hardness, grain size
and retained austenite a) H13. b) H13 and H11 (Pickering 1987)

b)

a)

Figure 4-12. CCT diagrams for two austenitizing temperatures , b) Effect of carbon on
Ms (Roberts and Robert 1980)

50
4.3.2 QUENCHING

Once dies are austenitized and held at an austenitized temperature, dies are quenched
using a quenching medium in a quenching furnace. The rate of quenching and the
uniformity of temperature in the block has a large effect on the resulting microstructure
and mechanical properties. The uniformity of temperatures from the surface to the core
has a profound effect on the distortion experienced by the dies. The following section
will discuss various issues in quenching that affect the properties of dies and its
performance in the field.

In an ideal case, quenching a small sample of tool steel will result in the structure
transforming to martensite. Martensite is the most desirable form of microstructure
that one can aspire for in a as-quenched die. A martensitic as-quenched structure
could be tempered to give the best combination of toughness and wear resistance in a
die. One could obtain a martensitic structure if the cooling rate is fast enough to avoid
less desirable phases like lower bainite, pearlite and ferrite. The different paths
resulting from different cooling rates resulting in different phases, are represented in
Figure 4.13. However, because of various reasons, this becomes both impractical and
undesirable.

Figure 4-13. a) Effect of bar size on the quench rate and the resulting phase starting
with an austenitizing temperature of a)1000° C and b) 1050° C (Schmitd 1987) b)
Variation of temperatures across a section of H-13 during quenching and the
resulting phases (Biermann 1984)

During quenching, the center of the dies experiences the slowest cooling rates. These
rates are slow enough to produce non-martensitic structure at the center of the
workpiece. Figure 4.14a-b clearly shows the differences in cooling rates experienced by
the surface and the center of a bar. At these slow cooling rates, it is not possible to
obtain a completely martensitic structure. One can increase the cooling rates at the
core to higher values using other techniques. But this is not practical without creating
extreme thermal gradients across the cross-section of dies. Large thermal gradients

51
result in thermal and transformation-induced distortions which are unacceptable to
precision forging applications.

a) Cooling curves form Uddeholm tests b) Cooling curves from Case Western
University

c)

Figure 4-14 a-b) Cooling rates used illustrating the corresponding structures in the
CCT diagram; b) Table with the conditions and the resulting properties for the
corresponding cooling rates (Wallace 1989).

The extremely high hardness of martensitic structures is due to its high resistance to
the slip and dislocation motion. This resistance is primarily due to the trapped carbon
atoms in the martensitic matrix. During an actual quenching process, because of the
slower cooling rates found in certain sections, several transformations can occur before
the material reach the room temperature. As the cooling rate experienced by a section of
die falls, the first non-martensitic phase to form is bainite. Bainite forms in quenching
speeds intermediate to pearlite and martensite. Its structure, subsequently, has
characteristics similar to both ferrite and martensite. Bainite that forms at lower cooling
rates close to pearlite field in a continuous cooling transformation (CCT) diagram is
called upper bainite. Bainite in the region close to martensite line is lower bainite.

52
Upper bainite contains elongated carbides that are also bigger than in lower bainite. As
hot forging dies needs ductility and toughness the lower bainite structure with fine
carbides distribution and fine structure will perform better. These transformations are
time-temperature dependent and are well understood using a CCT diagram. Typical
effect of cooling rate on the microstructure and hence, the mechanical properties of hot
forging die is illustrated in Figure 14.a-b and the attached table c). From this
illustration, it is also clear that with slower cooling rates, grain boundary carbide
precipitation increases. This results in a lower Charpy V-notch value as well as a
smaller yield strength. These tests were performed on small samples under laboratory
conditions. However, the underlying mechanism of transformation and microstructure-
mechanical property correlation are universally true. Similar trend has been
demonstrated by Okuno (Okuno 1987) who examined the effect of quenching rates on
toughness of H-13. Again, we see that with increased time for quenching, the toughness
drops because of grain boundary carbides and increased pearlite and lower bainite
content, figure 4.15.

Figure 4-15. Effect of cooling rates on the phase content and the resulting toughness.
Steels was austenitized at 1020 C for 30 mins and oil quenched at different rates.
(Okuno 1987)

A typical hot forging tool steel (H13) transforms into martensite completely if it is
quenched to 300°C in 1000 seconds. When the die block is too big, this is not
achievable uniformly across all sections. In these instances, interrupted cooling is an
alternative. There are two interrupted cooling techniques common to heat treaters:
martempering and austempering.
In martempering, the dies are quenched to a temperature just above Ms and kept there
until the temperature becomes homogeneous. It is then quenched crossing the Ms
curve. In austempering, the final quenching step forms upper bainite. It is important

53
that the cooling rates used to reach the first stage homogenizing temperature is high
enough to miss the grain boundary carbide precipitation line. Austempering reduced
dies distortion because the temperature is equalized before transformation and
subsequent cooling is slow. The resulting bainitic structure does not need tempering
operation (Krauss 1995).

Several quenching medium are available for use in tool steels. Tool steels are quenched
using oil, air, non oxidative gas or molten salt. Each option we have, will result in
differences in cooling process that will affect the resulting microstructure, surface
properties and distortion. Quenching techniques available to heat treaters are

• Vacuum Furnaces with vacuum or gas quench medium


• Sealed quench furnaces with gas or oil quench medium
• Isothermal Salt quench
• Fluidized bed quench

In vacuum furnaces, where the austenitization is done by heating the die steel by
radiation, quenching is done either by cooling in vacuum or using nitrogen. Lower
cooling rate may result in carbide precipitation. In the multiple-chamber vacuum
furnaces a quenching chamber permits higher cooling rates. Higher cooling rates are
achieved by using nitrogen at higher pressures. Figure 4.16 shows the effect of nitrogen
pressure on cooling rates achievable in a gas quench process. Also, the figure illustrates
the effect of cooling rates on the microstructure and phases present.
If oil is used as medium in sealed quench furnaces, higher cooling rates are achieved.
However, because there are no controls in place to affect the temperatures, there is a
risk of distortion. Oil should be used as a quench medium only for small, simple dies.
To reduce distortion, isothermal quench chambers that use salt baths should be
employed. These equalize temperatures around 1000° F. Again, 2-step quenching gives
small distortion than 1-step quenching. Fluidized beds also provide good control over
temperatures and distortion. Fluidized beds and oil quenching provide cooling rates
that are most desirable from a toughness point of view. In these cases, the grain
boundary carbide precipitation is kept to the minimum. Figure 4.17a-b illustrates some
of the properties we can expect. This should be used only as a reference to compare
different quenching processes relative to one another.

54
Figure 4-16. Effect of different cooling rates resulting from the quenching pressures
for a 11”x20”x30” block (Roche, Beaton et al. 1997)

55
a) b)

Figure 4-17. a)Effect of cooling rate on the longitudinal toughness; b) effect of various
quenching mediums on the ductility of samples taken in the three directions (1,3,4
produce coarse bainite and high GBC precipitation) (Roberts and Norstrom 1987)

4.3.3 TEMPERING
Quenched structure usually is a combination of untempered martensite, retained
austenite and carbides retained from austenitization. The goal of tempering is to
improve the strength and toughness of the quenched die steel by stress relieving and
atomic rearrangement. It does this in the following ways
• Transformation of all retained austenite into martensite and bainite.
• Diffusion of carbon atoms to create stronger and tougher tempered martensite
• Precipitation and dispersal of alloy carbides in the matrix so that they do not
coarsen during hot working. This phenomena causes hardening and is termed
secondary hardening.

The most important parameters that affect these changes during tempering are
1. Number of tempers
2. Duration of temper
3. Tempering temperatures

Heat treaters use at least 2 “draws” to convert retained austenite to martensite and
other stable and tough phases. The first tempering cycle transforms the retained
austenite in cementite and ferrite or martensite. The second tempering will temper the
untempered martensite produced in first temper. The second tempering cycle also
spheroidizes interlath carbides formed by the transformation of the retained austenite.
The 3rd and subsequent cycles are directed at obtaining secondary hardness gains

56
through precipitation of metallic carbides. Low alloy steels like L6 used in hammers
does not need the second tempering. H-13 requires 2 draws or tempering cycles to
obtain necessary toughness. Higher alloy tool steels like H-10A requires at least 3
draws. If the die block goes through fewer draws than recommended, it could result in
the following.

• Retained austenite and untempered martensite resulting in low toughness and


strength
• Absence of metallic carbide precipitates resulting in low secondary hardening
• Interlath carbides resulting in reduced toughness and higher chance of
catastrophic failure of dies

Tempering time and temperatures have similar effects on the microstructure. Usually
the tempering curves from steel producers provide variation of hardness with tempering
temperatures for a fixed time of one or two hours. Another approach to specify effect of
tempering is using charts and functions that track hardness with a combination of
time and temperature. Figure 3.7 and 3.12a shows the master tempering curves for H-
19 and H-13 respectively. Using these curves, we can predict what the resulting
hardness will be if we temper a H-13 block for a specific duration at a specified
temperature. Although this approach is better suited to evaluate softening of hot
working dies during the service, not many curves are present in the literature.

Since these processes are diffusion dependent, each draw should be at least 1 hour at
the tempering temperature. This ensures that all retained austenite converts to
martensite. Typically heat treaters use at least 2 draws of at least 2 hours each to even
out the effects of inhomogeneous heat chemistry, hardening temperatures and
quenching conditions. Again, since these transformations rely on carbon diffusing out
of the matrix, these transformations increase in speed at higher temperatures. In
general, the tempering temperature for hot forging applications range from 500-600° C.
Table 4.2 shows typical hardening and tempering temperatures for tool steels. Because
of precipitation of metallic carbides, there is a accentuated reduction in toughness in
the region of secondary hardness peak. Toughness reduction is represented by both the
Charpy and KIC tests in figure 4.18. This critical temperature is characteristic of the
alloy composition and the level of carbide dissolution during the austenitizing phase.
For hot forging dies, it is important to temper at a temperature that exceeds this critical
point. Tempering at temperatures just above the secondary peak gives the maximum
hardness, desirable for good performance in thermal fatigue and wear. However, if the
dies experience extreme mechanical loads, an increase in tempering temperature
increases the toughness.

Figure 4-18. Drop in toughness of H-13 with secondary hardening. a) represents


toughness in Charpy V-notch energy, b) represents toughness in Kic (Pickering 1987)

57
Alloying elements have a strong effect on the dies resistance to thermal softening. Tool
steels for hot work applications depends on strong carbide formers, like V, Mo, T, Cr,
etc. to provide resistance to thermal softening. These effects are illustrated in Figure
4.20. For example, .13% Vanadium has the ability to flatten the slope of a tempering
curve by 50%. This means that after 2 hours of tempering (after quenching or during
hot working), a tool steel with .13% V will result in a drop of hardness of half the value
compared to a pure iron-carbon structure. However, in order for this to happen, these
elements have to be dissolved in the austenite during austenitization. On the other
hand, the dissolution of primary carbides decreases wear resistance. There is hence, a
trade-off between resistance to thermal softening and wear that needs to be understood
by the forging designers. When specifying the heat treat specification, the forger should
also ensure that the specified mechanical properties can be achieved without undue
distortion. Figure 4.20 shows typical distortion associated with different alloys due to
non-uniformity in transformation and internal stresses due to heat treatment.

Figure 4-19 Softening retardation effects in relation for several elements in relation to
a Fe-C carbon steel at tempering temperature of 540°C (Krauss 1995)

Figure 4-20. Effects of tempering temperature in tool steels dimension including


contraction and expansion (Pickering 1987).

58
a)

59
b)

Table 4-2. a, b Hardening and tempering temperatures and procedures for tool steels
(Roberts and Robert 1980).

60
To know the needs of hardenability, hardness, carbide content and toughness it is
necessary to have knowledge of what are the critical failure mechanism or the critical
die loading for each application.

4.4. SPECIFICATIONS: DIE STEEL, HARDNESS,


TOUGHNESS AND MICROSTRUCTURE
In die casting, dies are very expensive and dies are subjected to much more severe
processing conditions than forging. This has prompted several companies and
organizations to come up with criteria and guidelines for accepting die steels. Some
criterion that are widely used are DCRF Data Digest 01-83-02D, Chrysler NP-2080,
Peugeot-Citroen specification E.01.10.455.G and German tool steel specification(VDG
Datasheet M82). There are other criteria used by Renault, General Motors, Ford and
Rockwell that are similar. Since adopting acceptance criterion, several operations have
reported reduced die failure rates. The DCRF criterion for acceptance of H-13, for
instance, specifies the following.

• Composition should meet ASTM A-681-76 criterion. This ensures low levels of sulfur
and phosphorous.
• Annealed hardness should be less than 241 BHN. This ensures the annealing is
complete
• Annealed microstructure should consist of ferritic matrix with spherodized carbides
• Untempered hardness of air-cooled 1” slab heated to 1850 F for ½ hour should be
atleast 50 HRc. This ensures the steel is hardenable.
• Untempered grain size at the surface should be finer than No. 6 after hardening.
This indirectly specifies impact and fatigue strength of the steel.
• Nonmetallic inclusions should be within limits of commercial quality electric furnace
melted steel. This ensures the dies have good ductility on heat treatment.

This criterion however, does not stipulate the steel making process. Other criteria used
address segregation and structural uniformity in different ways. Other specifications
may specify different criterion for heat treaters with die casting issues and modes of
failure in the forefront. However, in forging industry, not enough care is exercised in
specifying die steels and heat treatment.
Before specification of die material, hardness, toughness and microstructure, forgers
need to understand the modes of failure in their process. Knowledge of modes of failure
and the critical forging process parameters that affect the failure rate is essential for
proper specification of steels and heat treating.

As we discussed earlier, the high hardness of the martensitic structures is beneficial to


dies resistance to plastic deformation, fatigue and wear. Dies resistance to plastic
deformation is well represented by its yield strength and its variation with typical
operating temperatures. Its resistance to wear can be correlated to variation of hardness
with temperatures and times. This information is available in the form of Larson-Miller
generalized tempering curves. Wear constants also exist in literature that characterizes
materials resistance to wear.

At some point, increasing hardness starts to decrease other essential properties like
toughness and ductility. Toughness, ductility and ductile-brittle temperature (DBTT) are
interrelated properties. Low values of these properties reduce a dies ability to support
shock. Also, low values of ductility reduces dies ability to plastically deform and
dissipate the energy internally without breaking catastrophically. Toughness,
represented by Charpy V-Notch or KIC fracture toughness, measures the ability of a die

61
to resist crack growth. Ductility is characterized by charpy unnotched tests and tensile
tests performed in laboratory conditions.

Once the process has been characterized either by experimental data or simulation,
using knowledge of materials and expected batch size they need to specify the following.
• Die material grade and purity
• Austenitization temperatures and time
• Number of tempers, tempering time and temperature

In precision forging, for instance, if the mode of failure is abrasive wear, the
specification of die steel and heat treatment should focus on improving thermal
softening resistance and hardness. It is important to ensure that the dies are designed
with appropriate shrink fits and the forging process ensures there is no unnecessary
thermal or mechanical loads. Process optimization and optimal die design complement
die steel selection and heat treat specification. It is necessary to specify material and
heat treatment after optimizing design and process.

This idea has been incorporated in SAMS, a computer program being developed at the
Ohio State University. The program, once completed, would be capable of using thermo-
mechanical history and stress-strain information from FEM program, user entered
material specification, properties and charts from a database and built-in failure models
to estimate failure rate for different precision forging applications. This will serve as an
aid to precision forgers in selecting steels and specify heat treatment after a process is
designed and optimized.

62
5. SURFACE TREATMENTS
Surface-engineering of dies are techniques and processes used to induce, modify and
enhance the surfaces properties giving it more wear, corrosion and fatigue resistance.
These techniques do not modify the soft and tough interior of dies. Figure 5.1 shows the
typical surface depths of various surface treatments. Die coatings and surface
treatments, used in forging industry, primarily increase the abrasive wear resistance of
dies by increasing the hardness of the surface layers of the die. Figure 5.2a shows some
results from forging experiments that clearly illustrate the efficacy of surface
treatments. These results were obtained from forging trials performed eccentric crank
press. This section lists different surface treatments applicable to precision forging
applications and issues one need to be aware of that may affect the die performance.
Most surface treatments used in dies and tools are diffusion–based. These processes
rely on diffusion of chemicals into the surface, modifying the surface chemistry and the
mechanical properties of the surface layer. The thickness of the surface treated layer in
these types of diffusion processes rely on the time and temperature at which the
hardening is performed. The time-temperature dependence is of the form shown in
equation 5.1.

D=K T Equation 5-1

where D is the depth of the hardened case


K is a temperature dependent constant
T is the time of exposure

Figure 5-1. Thickness of various coatings and surface treatments (Subramanian


1996)

63
Figure 5-2.a. Comparison of wear amounts of surface treated upsetting tools after
1000 forging cycles with lubricant (Deltaforge-31) (Doege, Seidel et al. 1996)

Different diffusion based surface hardening techniques which may be applicable to


forging dies are

• Carburizing and pack cementation


• Nitriding
• Carbonitriding and Nitrocarburizing
• Boriding
• Toyota Diffusion Process
• Oxide coatings
• Thermoreactive diffusion
• Weld Overlays

5.1. CARBURIZING
Carburizing is the process of adding carbon to low carbon steels. Not typically used for
forging dies, the process relies on heating the parts to high austenetizing temperatures
of over 1500 °F and exposing the surface to a carbon rich atmosphere. Carbon diffuses
into the austenitic surface of the parts, which are then quenched to provide a
martensitic structure on the surface. As discussed before, martensite has excellent
wear resistance. Coupled with the soft and tough core, this surface treatment gives the
parts good resistance to mechanical shock as well as wear.
Case depths and hardness levels achievable are dependent on the time of exposure and
the richness of carbon at the surface. Prolonged exposure to carbon-rich atmosphere
results in a deep case. However, the surface may have excessive retained austenite and
free carbides, which in turn will result in excessive residual stresses.
Based on the medium used, carburizing can be any of the following.
• Gas carburizing
• Vacuum carburizing
• Plasma carburizing
• Salt bath carburizing

64
• Pack carburizing
Of these gas carburizing is the most commonly used process because of ease of process
control and low equipment costs. Pack carburizing, the uses a solid carburizing pack, is
also widely used. Carburizing has limited application if precision forging dies because,
dies materials used are medium to high alloy steels. The process has advantages of
flexibility and low cost for low production. However, labor cost for cleaning and
environmental restrictions make the gas or liquid process cheaper. The gas and plasma
carburizing process are also more controllable.

5.2. NITRIDING
Nitriding, similar to carburizing, is a process of hardening the surface by diffusing
nitrogen into the surface. Nitriding processes are performed at temperatures between
925 and 1050 °F (500 to 550 °C) (ASM 1964) where the structure is still ferritic. The
process results in formation of and outer case of Fe3N and a inner layer that is
strengthened by a solid solution of N. In some cases, a white layer of Fe4N is formed.
This layer, also called the “white layer”, may easily spall during use and has to be
avoided.
Steels nitrided are typically medium carbon steels with strong nitride-forming elements
like aluminum, chromium, vanadium and molybdenum. It is important that tempering
of the die steel be performed at a temperature exceeding the nitriding temperature prior
to nitriding in order to optimize the property combination of the core and the surface of
the dies. Also, because of the low nitriding temperatures, there is generally little
distortion from this heat treating process.
Although the depth and hardness of the nitride case depends a great deal on the
nitriding time, these properties (particularly the hardness) are sharply dependent on the
composition of the steel as well. Die steels containing large amounts of strong nitride
formers such as chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum form shallow, very hard
surface layers. On the other hand, low-alloy chromium-containing die steels (such as
6G, 6F2) form deeper surface layers which are tougher, but not as hard.
There are many techniques for nitriding: gas-nitriding, liquid-bath nitriding, ion-
nitriding, etc. Each of these will be discussed separately.
Gas Nitriding. Gas nitriding is a surface hardening process in which nitrogen is
introduced into the surface layers of ferrous materials by holding them in contact with a
nitrogen-containing gas, which is usually, ammonia. Because a brittle, nitrogen-rich
layer (the "white nitride layer") is produced by this process, the depth of the nitrided
case is usually kept small. Sometimes, a special two-stage gas-nitriding process, which
minimizes the depth of this layer, is employed (Weist 1986).
Liquid nitriding. Nitriding in a liquid salt bath, or liquid nitriding, is performed at the
same temperatures as gas nitriding, approximately 925 to 1050 °F (496 to 566 °C), but
typically requires less time than conventional single-stage gas nitriding. The salt baths
consist primarily of mixtures (in varying proportions) of sodium and potassium cyanide
(from which the nitrogen is released during nitriding) and sodium carbonate, potassium
carbonate, and potassium chloride. These baths result in cases containing both
nitrogen and carbon compounds. Modifications of this heat treating procedure include
a process involving aeration. (ASM 1964) This leads to a less brittle case of Fe3N
compared to gas nitriding process which develops cases containing very brittle iron
compounds richer in nitrogen (e.g., Fe2N). Commercially, liquid bath nitriding
processes such as Tufftriding and the Berry-Wear process have been used on
metalworking tooling. Employing special salts containing sulfur compounds, the Berry-
Wear process appears to have the advantage of producing an outer skin which serves as
a dry lubricant as well as a very hard wear-resistant surface (Brochures ). This latter
process has been very successful in cold forming applications, but its usefulness
appears not to have been documented in hot forging yet.

65
Ion-nitriding: Ion-nitriding, also known as plasma nitriding and glow-discharge
nitriding, is yet another form and probably the most recently developed method of
alloying the surface layers of ferrous parts with nitrogen. (Taylor 1981), (Edenhofer
1976), (Brochures ) In this process, a part to be nitrided is placed in a reaction vessel
into which an atmosphere containing nitrogen and hydrogen are introduced. The part
is electric resistance heated to 930 °F. It is made the cathode and the reaction vessel
the anode in an electric circuit. A glow discharge between the vessel and the part
causes ionization of the gases, causing nitrogen ions to impinge upon the surface of the
part. Because these ions have much greater energy than those in gas or liquid
nitriding, penetration and thus surface nitriding is much quicker in ion-nitriding.
Among other advantages of this form of nitriding is the ability to control and minimize
the extent of brittle "white-layer" formation. In fact, with proper atmosphere control,
nitriding surfaces of Fe4N can be formed. This compound is very ductile, and thus
parts with hard, wear-resistant, and tough surfaces may be produced. The major
drawback of this method is the need for a special reaction vessel whose size limits the
size of parts that can be treated.

Nitriding can be used in conjunction with alloy selection to selectively enhance


resistance to certain modes of failure. In table 5.1, Krishnadev (Krishnadev 1997)
presents efficiency of various surface treatments in increasing resistance to mechanical
failure, thermal softening, heat checking and wear.

Krishnadev (Krishnadev 1997) also presents toughness, hot hardness and softening
characteristics of nitrided and non-nitrided of H-13 and alloys of similar composition.
Figures also show the different levels of hardness and toughness achievable with
different coatings and nitriding.

Table 5-1. Response of different tool steels to several surface engineering towards
enhancement of toughness, hot hardness, heat checking, temper resistance
(Krishnadev 1997)

66
Efficacy of nitrided tools were tested by Dean and others (Dean 1987) using extrusion
type testing. Relative wear rates of nitrided and non-nitrided tool steels in extrusion
they obtained are shown in figure 5.4. Dean indicates that nitriding reduces wear as
much as 50%.

a)

b)

c) d)

e)

f)

Figure 5-3. Results for hot work tool steels in the H13 group presented by Krishnadev
(Krishnadev 1997) (a) Composition (b) toughness (c) hot hardness (d) softening of the
alloys 2-3 with and without nitriding e) Hardness achievable with different coatings
and the alloys chemical composition f) Charpy impact toughness of H-13 and treated
alloy No. 3

67
Figure 5-4. Relative wear rates of nitrided and non-nitrided tool steels used in
extrusion forging (Dean 1987)

5.3. CARBONITRIDING AND NITROCARBURIZING


Carbonitriding and nitro-carburizing are diffusion – based surface treatment techniques
that combine the effects of nitriding and carburizing. Carbonitriding relies on hardening
carburized austenitic surface layers using nitrogen as an agent. It is performed at
temperatures where austenite is stable. Nitrogen and carbon diffuses into the surface.
Carbon, on quenching, provides the superior hardness levels. Nitrogen increases the
hardenability of the surface, thus reducing the need for drastic cooling and subsequent
high distortion. It should be noted that nitrogen, like carbon is an austenite stabilizer.
Excessively rich carbonitriding medium and prolonged times may result in high
nitrogen concentrations at the surface that may result in high levels of retained
austenite. Retained austenite is detrimental to hardness and wear resistance.

Austenitic nitrocarburizing relies on formation of Fe3N (ε carbonitrides) at the surface to


improve the hardness levels. It is carried out at temperatures of 675 °C to 775 °C.
Because the mechanism relies on the formation of carbonitrides and not carbon or
nitrogen trapped in surface matrix, there is no need for quenching. This process, hence,
results in low distortions.

Ferritic nitrocarburizing displays superior fatigue resistance and relies on both


formation of ε carbonitrides and diffusion of carbon and nitrogen into the substrate.
The process is carried out at temperatures where the surface is still ferritic – around
570 °C. Diffused nitrogen is trapped in a solid solution by quenching in oil. The white
layer of ε carbonitrides improves the wear resistance while the diffused layer results in
improvements in fatigue strengths upto 120% (ASM 1964). The yield strength of the
substrate surface also increases. For this treatment to be effective, the surface layers
need to be clean of oxides, scales, oil or other contaminants. Vapor degreasing or grit

68
blasting with fine abrasives may be necessary steps to achieve the most out of ferritic
nitrocarburizing process. Various processes exist like Nitemper process, Alnat-N
process and black nitrocarburizing that rely on controlling the composition of white
layer formed. For details on this processes, refer to ASM handbook (ASM 1964).

Venkatesan and others (Venkatesan, Summerville et al. 1998) have evaluated nitro-
carburized dies and compared its performance with quench and tempered H-13 and
ASM 6F3, Nitrided H-13, Borided and Vanadised (TD) H-13. Results obtained from their
tests are provided in Table 5.2. They found that nitrocarburized dies performed very
well compared to untreated H-13. Details of the process they used is unknown.

H13 Dies 6F3 Dies


Treatments Top Bottom Top Bottom
Q&T 46 110 156 236
Nitro-carburized 4 5 5 37
Nitrided 10 12 11 9
Borided 5 6 0 0
Vanadised 0 0 0 0

Table 5-2. Average maximum wear depths (µm) on surface engineered dies after
upsetting 500 AISI 1040 steel billets at 1070° C (Venkatesan, Summerville et al. 1998)

5.4. BORIDING
Boriding or boronizing process relies on diffusion and subsequent absorption of boron
atoms in the metallic lattice and formation of interstitial boron compounds to harden
the structure. Diffusion treatment can be carried out in either a gas, molten salt, or
pack media at a temperature between 700 °C to 1000 °C, depending upon the process
and the material to be borided. Extremely hard-surface layers ranging from 11450 to
5000 HV that has a low coefficient of friction are formed if the base metal forms borides.
The process does not require quenching. If the base material has to be heat treated, the
heat treatment can be done after boriding, although care is required to reduce
quenching stresses to prevent spalling of the borided layer. Borided layers resist
thermal softening better than nitrided layers. They also exhibit moderate to high
resistance to oxidation. However, boriding provides marginal increase in fatigue
endurance limits.

Boriding of steels is also done electrolytically. Boron atoms are electro-deposited onto
the metal from a bath of molten salt containing fluorides of lithium, sodium, potassium
and boron. The dies are borided in the 1470 F (800 C) to 1650 F (900 C) temperature
range in an atmosphere of argon or a mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen. Thickness of
coating is from 0.0005 to 0.002 in (0.013 to 0.05 mm), and treatment lasts 15 minutes
to 5 hours (Fiedler 1972).

It has been stated that boriding results in undesirable interaction with alloying
elements of hot-work die steels (H series) and develops a soft layer (Burgreev 1972).
Porosity in the borided layer can develop for steels, which require post-boriding heat
treatment. For this reason, it is preferred to limit boriding to those alloys that do not
require further high-temperature treatment. For example, A6 (075 C, 20.0 Mn, 0.3 Si,
1.0 Cr, 1.35 Mo) air-hardening steel can be hardened from the boriding temperature by
cooling in air, and only requires tempering. This steel, therefore, can be safely borided.

69
Boriding process is also known to improve the wear resistance by forming borides with
the subsurface die steel. Shivpuri and Semiatin (Shivpuri and Semiatin 1988) report
work by Vincze who borided dies at 900° C for 3 hours followed by quench and temper.
Vincze reported an increase in wear resistance of borided dies by 70% compared to
untreated dies. Burgreev and Dobnar (Burgreev 1972) also report large increase in
hammer die forging die life when boriding is used.
As reported earlier, Venkatesan and others (Venkatesan, Summerville et al. 1998) also
report enhanced wear resistance of borided tools compared to untreated dies. Boriding
low alloy steels result in a jagged boride layer that are deeper than boride layers formed
in high alloy steels. This is because, alloying elements reduce the diffusion of boron into
the substrate. This may explain results obtained by Venkatesan who found that
performance levels of borided H-13 are comparable to nitrocarburizing. However, they
found that the efficacy of boriding was higher with low alloy die steels like 6F3.

5.5. THERMO-REACTIVE DIFFUSION (TRD)


Thermo-reactive processes also called Toyota diffusion process (TD process) is another
diffusion type process that relies on forming hard carbides of V, Cr and Nb on the
surface of dies. The process is performed by placing preheated dies in a molten borax
bath at temperatures from 850 °C to 1050 °C for times ranging from ½ to 10 hours. The
bath also contains strong carbide forming elements like Niobium, Vanadium, Titanium,
Chromium. Unlike other processes discussed earlier, TRD process results in buildup of
surface of carbides. Also, Vanadium and chromium diffuse into the steel substrate
forming iron-chromium and iron-vanadium solid solution layers beneath the carbide
layer. After treating, the die is quenched in air, salt or oil and tempered. Drastic
quenching may cause unacceptable distortion and needs to be avoided. To reduce
distortion, it is preferable to pre-machine and grind the dies before TRD processing.
Best results are obtained for steels with atleast .3% C.

Dies processed by this method have excellent wear resistance and resistance to
corrosion and oxidation. Arai (Arai and Iwama 1981; Arai 1992; Arai and Komatsu
1993; Arai 1995; Arai, Fujita et al. 1995; Tsuchiya, Kawaura et al. 1997) has done a lot
of work in validating the use of TRD process in cold and hot forging. By coating 3”
flashless dies made of SKD 62 with Cr Carbide using the TD process, he was able to
double the life of dies. The life of dies increased from 5000 to 10,600. Arai also reports
that TD treated steels did not peel or crack under repeated blows with a pointed
hammer. Under similar conditions, TiC coated by PVD or CVD cracked after 50,000
pieces and peeled after 1000,000 pieces.

Venkatesan and others (Venkatesan, Summerville et al. 1998) found that vanadised
dies showed the least wear of the tested specimen compared to niitrocarburizing and
boriding. They also noted that vanadisation dies showed no traces of wear irrespective
of the type of substrate used. They also noted that nitro-carburizing and nitriding
resulted in similar wear rates for both types of die steels used in the study.

5.6. OXIDE COATINGS


Oxide coating improves the performance of hot-work tool steels. The oxide scale formed
during the heat treatment is abrasion resistant and helps to hold die lubricants. In case
this protective layer in case it is removed by final die finishing it should be re-created
when the die does not have other surface heat treatment. The oxide layer can be
recreated by die exposure to steam (~564°C) or by heating in liquid sodium
hydroxide/sodium nitrate salts for 5 to 20 min at 140 °C. The resulting layer is about

70
5µm thick and is very adherent (Roberts, Krauss et al. 1998). Quinn and co-works
showed, in a series of studies in fundamental wear and oxidation mechanism, that
under hot conditions a layer of oxide prevents the occurrence of adhesive wear (Quinn,
Sullivan et al. 1980; Sullivan 1981; Quinn 1983).

71
6. ADVANCED DIE MATERIALS AND SURFACE
ENGINEERING TECHNIQUES

6.1. CERAMICS: SIALON, SILICON NITRIDE AND


SILICON CARBIDE
Ceramics are chemically inert compounds that can retain its properties at high
temperatures. Sialon and Silicon Carbide and Silicon nitride are some potential ceramic
elements that can be used in tooling for precision forging.

a) b)

c)

Figure 6-1.Compilation of several properties versus test temperature for ceramics


from Ohuchi (Ohuchi 1990). a) hardness b) thermal expansion c) Yield stress.

72
Hot pressed Silicon Nitride is a ceramic that has extremely high hardness, high
toughness and wear resistance. Currently it is used in applications like nozzle rings,
bearings, rotors and cam followers in internal combustion engines. It also has good
thermal shock resistance and good hot hardness and maintains its temperature and
oxidation resistance at 1200° C. Applications of Silicon Nitride as a coating, is however,
limited because of its poor adhesion with the substrate.

Silicon Aluminum Oxynitride (Sialon) is a new group of solid solution compositions that
also possesses excellent thermal shock resistance. Sialons have similar properties as
Silicon Nitride but Sialons have a superior resistance to oxidation at high temperatures.
Silicon Carbide with extremely high hardness is normally used in grinding wheels as
well as various internal combustion engine parts like valve seats and flame cans. Data
comparing

There has been some interest shown on this type of material primarily for automotive
applications. Miyoshi plasma-deposited amorphous silicon nitride films at both low and
high frequency applications. The author found that high frequency deposited layer has
better resistance to the shear (better adherence to the substrate). The coating also
resulted in low adhesion (soldering) and low friction in pin-disc type tests until 700°C.

There are several ceramics available with comparable harnesses, thermal expansion
and yield strength of these 3 compounds are shown in figure 6-1 a-c. Several ceramics
and carbides exist that have application in precision forging either as inserts or as
coatings. It should be realized that these compounds typically lack tensile strength and
needs to be constrained in a shrink ring. Also, they may not be applicable as coatings
because of their lack of adhesion to the substrate and their dissimilar thermal
expansion coefficients that may lead to cracking.

6.2. ALUMINIDES: NICKEL AND TITANIUM


Nickel aluminides are relatively new intermetallic die materials that exhibit better high
temperature properties compared to conventional hot work steels and nickel based
superalloys like IN 718. Typical composition of some nickel aluminides is provided in
Table 6.1. Although this is a relatively new compound, it is the same compound (γ’
compound) that gives superalloys like 718, its strength on aging.

The application of Nickel Aluminide in hot and warm forging is very new. Although soft
at room temperatures, nickel aluminides retain their yield strengths at higher
temperatures. Figure 6.2 shows typical yield strengths and tensile strengths of Nickel
Aluminides. Figure 6.3 shows the increasing yield strength of these intermetallic
compounds with temperature up to 500 °C beyond which the yield strength drops.

Table 6-1. Compositions of various grades of Nickel Aluminides (Blau 1992)

73
a) b)

Figure 6-2. Mechanical properties a) compressive Yield strength for Ni alloy 718 and
Nickel aluminide 221M-T (Al 7.6-8.2; Cr 7.5-8.2; Mo 1.3-1.55; Z 1.4-2.0; B 0.003-0.01
Ni balance) b) Tensile and yield strength for 221M-T alloy (Maddox and Orth 1997)

The relatively high hot hardness gives these intermetallics, very high wear coefficients.
Table 6.2 shows the results of pin-on-disc type tests on Ni3Al. Although these are
conducted at room temperatures, these numbers give us some idea of its wear
resistance compared to conventional hot work steels. Tests that have been done
industries show up to 10X life increase for preforming dies. The high yield strength also
gives nickel aluminide relatively late crack initiation as indicated in Figure 6.4. Figure
6.5 compares the variation of yield strength of this class of materials with hastealloy
and stainless steel. Table 6.3-6.5 show some physical properties available.

Figure 6-3 Yield strength of various grades of nickel aluminides (Blau 1992)

74
8

Table 6-2. Wear constants obtained through pin-on-disc type tests for various grades
of Nickel Aluminides (Blau 1992)

Figure 6-4. Comparison of crack growth data for Nickel Aluminide compared to other
high temperature alloys. (Fuchs, Kuruvilla et al. )

75
Figure 6-5 Comparison of yield strength of IC-15 to those of other high temperature
alloys. (Horton, Liu et al. )

Table 6-3. Some physical properties of IC-50 (Oak )

76
Table 6-4 Variation of yield strength, ultimate strength and ductility of IC50 with
temperature (Oak )

Table 6-5. Variation of modulus of elasticity of IC50 with temperature (Oak )

The main deterrent in the use of Nickel Aluminide is that it is not very easily
machinable. Machining nickel aluminides require use of positive rake tooling and low
speed and machining feeds. For this reason, the material is received in as-cast
condition. However, the material machines well using electro-discharge machine.

6.3. WELD OVERLAYS


The hardfacing is a coating process that applies a surface deposit that metallurgically
bonds to the base material. In the past, the process was used primarily for repair and
maintenance of dies and molds. Now, it is increasingly being used as an inexpensive
means for depositing a hard layer on localized wear-prone die areas. Nugent (Nugent
1986) reports in his study that weld deposits of Alloy 625 increased forging die life by
400%. Kohappa (Kohopaa, Hakonen et al. 1989) reports comprehensive test results
(Figure 6.6) that compare wear resistance of various weld consumables.

77
Wear of weld consumables

120 108
100
100 83
75
80

Wear
56
60 43 40
40 29
20 1 1
0

O 35

6
O 13

50
O 38

O 58

O 65

28

O 25

06

60
5
H

55
85

85

85

83

93

93
K

K
Weld consumable type

Figure 6-6. Results of wear tests on various welding consumables (Kohopaa,


Hakonen et al. 1989)

The weld deposits used could be one of the following.


• Deposits of identical material onto a die block to repair it or to allow resinking
• Deposits of higher alloy steels (e.g., chromium hot-work steels) onto the die surface
of low-alloy steels to improve the service performance of the dies (e.g., wear and heat
resistance).
• Deposits of hard or high-temperature materials (usually cobalt or nickel-based
alloys) onto low-alloy or hot-work steels to improve the service performance of the
dies.

Different hardfacing processes.


Before discussing specific alloys, the processes by which they are deposited will be
briefly reviewed. The first step in any of the hardfacing processes should be the
annealing of the die block into which the rough impression has been sunk. This relieves
residual stresses and helps prevent cracking during welding of the surface layer. After
annealing, the die block should then be reheated to a temperature of 600 to 1200 °F
(325 to 649 °C), which is also necessary to minimize cracking due to thermal gradients
set up between the surface and interior during welding. The application of the surface
layer can then be performed by one of a number of welding processes (Knotek 1979):
1. gas torch welding (combustible gas welding)
2. manual arc welding
3. submerged arc welding
4. gas shield arc welding (TIG or MIG
5. open arc welding
6. thermal spraying
7. fusion treatment
8. plasma spraying (plasma-arc welding)
9. transferred arc plasma
10. flame plating
11. Deposition process (Electroslag welding)

Together with the solidification conditions, the amount of melted base material and
base material dilution is important for wear properties. For repair of dies, the shielded-
metal-arc method is preferred. It allows high productivity and has the advantage of low
heat input and thus minimal distortion of the die cavity.

78
After welding, the die block must be cooled to room temperature to prevent cracking of
the welded deposit. The die impression is then finished, machined and ground. Heat
treatment (austenitizing, quenching, and tempering) of the die block is performed last.
Once again, differences in thermal properties between the base metal and surface
deposit are critical insofar as thermal cracking is concerned.

Hardfacing Alloys: For hardfacing, welding alloys are generally base on iron, cobalt
and nickel metals. Hard phases are formed by addition of carbon (in Fe) or boron (in Ni).
The preferred application methods for various alloys are: iron alloys deposited by
surface weld methods, cobalt alloys by welding and powder surfacing and hard nickel
alloys ing the form of powder. The volume fraction for hard phase is very important for
the wear resistance in the weld deposit. Often there is no proportional dependence and
the best wear resistance is not achieved by the highest hard phase concentration.

Various ferrous alloys are used to repair steel dies or to lay down deposits of better wear
and heat resistance in the welded deposit. Often there is no proportional dependence
and the best wear resistance in not achieved by the highest hard phase concentration.
Different microstructural combinations are used to increase wear resistance of tool
steel, these include transformation behavior (bainite, eutectic) and the use of carbide
forming elements where chromium is used as alloying element. Austenitic and
austenitic-ferritic material are preferred for wear resistance under higher loads.

Hard-faced tool steels have to be heat treated before use. However, hyper-eutectic cast
or carbide sinter alloys are not suitable for heat treatment and the weldment from
carbide filler rods exhibit the required material properties directly after welding. In
respect of the economic importance, hard facing with iron base alloys predominates in
comparison with nickel and chromium alloys (Farmer 1979; Knotek 1979). This is more
relevant with the increasing automation of hard surfacing and the use of robots in
welding systems.

Nickel- and cobalt-base alloys are the usual choices for hard-facing of dies. Questions
concerning the transformation or primary phase instability during hard surfacing
process can be considered of secondary importance in hard cobalt or nickel alloys. The
material properties are present after solidification from melt. Use of these alloys in
hardfacing offers a considerable saving over die blocks of these alloys. In a typical
hardfacing operation, one or two layer of alloy, each about 0.010 to 0.050 in. (0.25 to
1.27 mm) thick are deposited in the die. If a very large amount of buildup is desired or
require, however, it is advisable to apply layers of stainless steel, high nickel alloy, or
low-alloy filler metal first rather than many layers of hardfacing material (Haynes )
(Acros )

Hard nickel alloys are processed generally as metal powders (P/M) and to a lesser
extent as cast rod and electrode. Some nickel base alloys are applied as layers. With
several alloys, the hardening during loading is used to increase the wear strength, e.g.
for cladding cutting tools and die blocks for hot working.

Evaluation of hardfacing alloys: The properties of the cobalt alloys with chromium,
tungsten and carbon have been investigated by researchers at the University of Aachen,
West Germany (Knotek 1978; Knotek 1979). The influence of the cobalt matrix
composition and the carbide content on the impact strength, thermal shock resistance,
coefficient of linear expansion, tensile strength, ductility and hardness, as a function of
temperature are used for evaluating the wear behavior of the coating. Hard cobalt alloys
are processed as cast rods, electrodes, filler rods and metal powder. Another recent
laboratory investigation into the elevated temperature properties of cobalt based
hardfacing alloys (Crook 1983) concluded that for the STELLITE group of cobalt alloys,

79
the higher the cobalt content, the better the resistance to metal-to-metal wear in the
temperature range 0 to 1382F (0 to 750C). For this group of alloys, wear rate decreases
with increasing temperatures, in the range 1562 to 1832F (850 to 1000C). Figure 3.23
(Semiatin and Lahoti 1981) shows the effect of temperature and heat treatment in some
hard facing alloys.

For a given matrix chemistry, increased hard phase volume friction may be of some
benefit in resisting metal-to-metal wear The cobalt-chromium and cobalt-iron-
chromium alloys exhibit a maximum metal-to-metal wear rate around 482F (250C.).
This study also reported that the high nickel alloys have relatively poor self-mated anti-
galling properties at room temperature, yet exhibit low wear rates under low load/high
speed conditions, versus case hardened 4620 steel in air at room temperature. The low
wear rates of nickel-rich hardfacing alloys have been attributed to their oxidation
kinetics and the nature of their oxide scales. Low wear rates and the formation of very
shiny oxide scales, termed glazes, characterize the high temperature behavior of some
nickel-chromium alloys.

Electro-spark deposition. Electro-spark deposition (ESD) a variation of hard-surface


welding, has been used extensively in Europe for improving the galling resistance of
material (Sheldon 1985). Electrodes of WC, TIC and Cr3 C2 materials have been used
for deposit on 316 stainless steel and other substrata. ESD has been found to be
effective in fusing metallurgically bonded coatings to the substrate at low heat with the
substrata remaining near the ambient temperature.

6.4. CRYOGENIC TREATMENTS


The ideal hardening treatment would transform 100% of the austenite to martensite
prior to tempering. However, in practical cases some percentage of the austenite
remains untransformed. Cold or cryogenic treatment can improves the percentage of
the transformation increasing the strength, dimensional and microstructural stability,
wear resistance and reducing the tendency for grinding cracks.
Quenching to cryogenics temperatures following the room temperature quenching wold
be offer the maximum austenite-martensite transformation. However the class of steel
and the geometry complexity usually demands to apply the following cycle: quenching
to room temperature; immediate tempering, cryogenic quenching followed for the final
tempering. The die geometry and design will determine in last instance the applicability
of the treatment.

The cold treating can be applied using dry ice in a container that reaches ~ -75°F, or
commercial units with circulating ar that reach -125°F. The liquid nitrogen can reach ~
-320°F but it dos not have much use due to the cost. The advantages of the cryogenic
treatment are still in discussion, although when comparing tool steels (D2,A2,M2,O1)
treated to –120°F and –310°F the cryogenic treatments showed approximately twice the
wear resistance (ASM 1993).

6.5. BRUSH PLATING TECHNIQUES


Brush plating is another coating technique that is used to coat cobalt-nickel, cobalt-
molybdenum, cobalt-tungsten and chromium coatings. There has been some reference
in use of this technique for enhancing performance of forging dies. Dennis and others

80
(Dennis and Still 1975; Dennis and Jones 1981; Dennis and Mahmoud 1987; Dennis
and Sagoo 1991; Dennis, Turner et al. 1991; Dennis and Such 1993) have done a series
of studies in characterizing electro-deposited cobalt coatings. They attempted to
evaluate cobalt coated forged dies with dies coated with other techniques. They forged
cylindrical test specimens similar to ones used by Thomas (Thomas 1970),

Table 6-6. Wear volume obtained after 100 forgings using flat dies electro-deposited
with some wear resistant coatings (Still and Dennis 1977)

Rooks (Rooks 1974) and others between flat coated dies and measured wear using
surface roughness measurements. Using this setup, they evaluated cobalt-nickel,
cobalt-molybdenum, cobalt-tungsten and chromium coatings. They found that cobalt-
molybdenum and cobalt-tungsten coatings provide the least wear. Table 6.2 provides a
comparison of wear resistance of different coatings obtained forging cylindrical mild
steel billets using a flat No.5 die. To get a more realistic comparison, after the
preliminary cylindrical specimen testing, Stills and Dennis used a more complicated
forging with flash, to measure wear resistance of the different Cobalt coatings. Wear
measurements were made near the flashland, where the wear was highest. Figure .12
shows the variation of resulting wear area with number of forgings made. These dies
were made from No. 5 die steels or Chromium steels. Table 4.3 shows the result of use
of Cobalt based coatings on industrial dies. Table 4.4 provides some results of brush

81
plating coatings on simulated testing. The results of industrial trials on hot forging dies
brush plated with Co-Mo alloy coatings [Dennis, 1981 #201 is given in

Figure 6-7. Wear rate variation for dies with sharp radii and fillets, for different
coatings. M11, M12 and M-14 are Co-Mo coatings, W2 and W3 are Co-W coatings
(Still and Dennis 1977)

Alloy Die tipe Die life (N0 of forgins) % Increase in


Unplated Plated die life
W2 A ~ 9,600 ~ 11,900 ~ 24
W2 B ~ 4,000 ~ 8,000 ~ 100
M 12 B ~ 4,000 ~ 8,000 ~ 100
W2 C ~ 3,000 ~ 6,000 ~ 100
W2 C ~ 3000 ~ 6,000 ~ 100
a) results related to nitried dies
b) It was estimed that about a further 1000 forgings could have been produced from
these dies but the production run of billets.

Table 6-7. Results of industrial trials of use of coatings. 17a represents non-round
shallow dies, 17b yoke-type dies and 17c gear blank dies (Still and Dennis 1977)

Die Type No of Results and comments Die Type No of Results and comments

82
sets sets
Plated plated
Gear 01 120% improvement in die life Turbine 01 2200 forged. This is normal life
selector compared with an unplated one blade but die will be used again as still
in tolerance
Round 01 34% improvement in die life Control 01 Plated die ran well, but suddenly
compared with unplated one linkage failed, possibly due to forging cold
bar stock
Couple 03 20, 26 and 21% improvement in Turbine 01 Used to forge Nimonic alloys had
flange die life compared with unplated blade 'normal' life. On removal from
one forge found to be in tolerance and
suitable for further use.
T Piece 01 Production ceased, but estimated it Connecting 01 32% increase in life compared
would have increased die life by link rod with unplated die. Improved metal
25% flow and lower forging
temperature noted
Link pin 01 Production ceased, but estimated it Suspension 01 Brush plated over welded areas of
would have increased die life by cup die - no problems encountered.
25% Improved die life by 56% over
unplated die life
Gear blank 01 18% improvement in die life, Ford Transit 02 Improved life but not sufficiently
(nitrided) reduction of sticking of the front axle to be viable economically
workpiece to die dies

Slack 01 No improvement, but failure is Turbine 01 An increase of 100% over the


adjuster normally due to cracking and not blade previous maximum life was
erosion achieved
Rocker arm 01 13% improvement in die life, Heading 01 Comparison of equivalent
insert compared with unplated die pressings from plated and unplated
tooling shows the effect of
reduced die wear using a plated
die
Large 02 1 pair 77% increase in die life. 1 Extrusion 19 Used for extrusion of titanium for
universal pair average life (this pair was inserts ½ 2 turbine blading. Glass lubricant
joint Tufftrided giving a poor ½ in used. Life not significantly
electrodeposit) diameter increased but great improvement
in surface finish so that scrap rate
reduced
Large 04 All 4 sets produced less than Turbine 02 The plated dies produced 80-250
universal nitrided dies used as a control blade pieces but normal life was as low
joint dies preform as 25 pieces
Bolster 01 32% increase in life Open ended 01 Average life
chisel compared with unplated dies Spanner die

Table 6-8. Results of industrial trials on hot forging dies brush plated with Co-Mo
alloy coatings (Dennis and Jones 1981)

83
Figure 6-8. Results of simulated hot forging tests with different coatings (Dennis and
Jones 1981)

Figure 6-9. Variations of wear area with number of forgings. The dies used were flat
dies with dies having sharp radii and fillets (Dennis and Still 1975)

84
Subsequently, Lodge and others (Lodge, Still et al. 1979) brush-plated cobalt alloy
electro-deposits on to 24 different dies making parts ranging from coupling flanges,
turbine blades, gear selectors, track rod pins to steering links. The dies ranged from 4
kg to 500 kg. Results showed increase in die life ranging from 20 to 100%. They report
that the coatings did not peel off or crack under forging conditions.

6.6. VAPOR DEPOSITION: PVD AND CVD


In physical vapor deposition or PVD coating processes, the coated material is
transformed to gaseous state, which condenses in vacuum on the substrate surface to
form atomistic bond with the substrate surface.

Very widely used along with PVD, CVD or chemical vapor deposition relies on volatile
coating compound reacting with other gases or vapors to form atomistic layer of coating
on the hot substrate. Temperatures range from 200 °C to 2200 °C and pressures range
from 60 Pa to .1 Mpa.

Both these processes are very versatile in compositions one can coat. Also, the coatings
can be produced with high purity and fine microstructures. Very thin coatings can be
produced with extremely high adhesion and generally, the substrate does not need any
post finishing.

Several work exists in the literature on the use of PVD and CVD techniques. This report
will only mention a few for sake of completeness. Mirtich evaluated thermal fatigue of
several coating applied by sputter deposition coating on a H-13 base using ion beam
technology. They found that 1 micron thick tungsten, molybdenum and platinum
coatings improved the resistance to thermal fatigue until the coatings are fractured
[figure 6.10).

Figure 6-10. Ratio of cracked area of coated corners to an uncoated corner for
various materials (Mirtich, Nieh et al. 1981)

Krishnadev also reports hardness and toughness of several specimen that have been
PVD coated with TiN (Figure 5.3). The figure presents the hardness achievable with
different coatings. However, no wear test results are available for these coatings.

85
6.7. THERMAL SPRAYING
Thermal spraying, as the name indicates, is spraying of material coated by propelling it
in a molten state on to the substrate. The main advantage of this technique is that the
substrate is kept at relatively low temperature, avoiding any distortion or
microstructural changes. Techniques like plasma arc spraying, electric arc spraying
and detonation type spraying are part of this category.

Experimental work by Monika (Monika 1981) made using the following coatings:
nitriding,, suphurizinng, diffusion chromizing, Chromium plating, plasma spraying with
non-metallic coating of Al2O3, plasma spraying with metallic coatings of Cr, WFe, WC
types and burnishing. The wear tests used hot work die steel (900-1100°C) against
carbon die steel (20-500°C) with pressure of 10 Mpa in dry condition. The plasma
sprays (W2C + 2%Co, Cr, Wc) resulted in approximately three times less wear than the
others (Figure 6.9). The plasma spraying coatings also presented good results in
thermal fatigue, although the burnished coating did not presented cracks. Increasing
the top temperature from 500°C to 700°C doubled the cracks depth. The results from
industrial tests are presented in table 6.9. The plasma sprayed coating Cr and WC
presented good results for hot forging applications.

Table 6-9 Results of production testing of various surface treatments (Monika 1981)

Figure 6-11 Wear of different thermal sprayed coatings (Monika 1981)

86
Figure 6-12 The burnished coating did not presented cracks. Samples 45mm
diameter by 40mm high, induction heated during ~ 18s and cooled by 10s between
temperatures of 20-700°C. (Monika 1981)

6.8. LASER SURFACE MODIFICATION


Laser alloying is a form of reactive coating where the laser treated alloy enters the
substrate matrix. These techniques are very useful when it is necessary to selectively
enhance the properties of certain regions of the dies. The technique relies on applying
powdered alloy of desired chemistry at critical regions of interest and applying high
powered laser to melt and diffuse the compound into the substrate. Alloying
molybdenum and vanadium carbide enhances the hardness retention and hot wear
resistance.

There are few results that support the use of laser modification. Table 5.1 and figure
5.3 (Krishnadev 1997) compares effect of laser welding on wear performace of H-13 and
other alloys to other surface enhancements. Cser and Lang present results of die life
improvement using laser surface alloying, figure 6.13.

Figure 6-13. Effect of laser surface modification on wear performance of hot work dies
compared with nitrided dies (Cser, Geiger et al. 1993)

87
6.9. ION IMPLANTATION
A relatively new technique, ion implantation relies on directly impregnating the
substrate material with atoms of any compound. This is done using high energy ion
beams. Since this is not a diffusion or thermo-dynamics-based process, it opens up
several possibilities. Using this technique, it is possible to implant, non-metallic (B,
N,C,P) or metallic (Cr, Ti, Ni, Fe etc) onto metals, cermets , ceramics or polymers. Ion
implanted surface are in general more wear resistant, have better fatigue characteristics
and have better corrosion resistance.

88
7. MECHANISMS AND MODELS OF DIE WEAR
AND FAILURE
The main forms of failure in hot and warm precision forging are abrasive and adhesive
wears, oxidative wear, thermal fatigue, mechanical fatigue and gross cracking of dies. In
several cases, two or more of these mechanisms act together to wear down the die. For
fundamental insights into the different wear mechanisms, refer to appendix A.

7.1. WEAR
Several work exists in the literature that tries to characterize and model wear in hot
forging. Some are based on process variables like forging area, weights and energy while
some have taken a more fundamental approach to modeling. These models are provided
in Table 7.1. With advances in finite element models and computing, it is possible to
use fundamental material properties and process variables derived from FEM softwares
to model wear more universally. With the technological capabilities in mind, and with
available data, it is possible to use Archard’s model provided in equation 7.1 to model
wear as a function of thermo-mechanical history of dies during a forging process and
the working hardness of the die material.

pi × Vi
wear = k ∫ dt Equation 7-1
Hi

where p is normal pressure at a die location


V is the sliding velocity at any time
H is the hardness of the die location
And k is a constant dependent on several factors like billet material and scale
formation.

To obtain these in real time, we need the following pieces of information.


• Hardness of dies with temperature; material data
• Tempering curves; material data
• Sliding velocities and distances; process data
• Die pressures; process data

89
Aston and Hammer
Barry, 1972 Mean damage (x10-3) = 0.00686 x forging area + 0.0272 hammer energy - 0.1855 x forging
wt1/3 + 0.335 x spread - 0.011 x flash land area + 0.129 x flash metal escape – 0.557
(84%)
Aston and Hammer
Barry, 1972 Mean damage (x10-3) = 0.000261 x forging area + 0.000763 hammer energy - 0.00265 x
forging wt1/3 + 0.012 x spread ration - 0.000694 x flash land area – 0.00266 (82%)
Aston and Press
Barry, 1972 Mean damage (x10-3) = 0.0284 x forging weight – 0.062 x die material - + 0.141 (83%)
No. 5 steel = 1; 3Ni, 3Mo, 0.5Cr steel = 2; En40 not nitrided = 3
Aston and Mean damage (x10-3) = 0.000164 forging area + 0.000712 x flash land/gap - 0.00431
Barry, 1972 (70%)
Aston and Hammer and press
Barry, 1972 Mean damage (x10-3) = 0.00405 x forging area + 0.226 x forging wt1/3 - 0.019 x flash land
area + 0.00287 x flash weight (%) + 0.0184 x flash land/gap + 0.0666 (m/c factor: hammer =
1, press =2) – 0.42 (72%)
Archard’s pi × Vi
model wear = k ∫ dt for volume
Hi
Wear = k pd/H for depth
k = constant,
p = normal pressure
V = velocity
H = hardness
d = sliding distance

Budinski
Wear control −4
handbook w = 0 .23 × 10 − 2 e − 0.21 x10 A

w = abrasion rate cm3/min


A = Structure parameter for a given tool steel (carbide size (µm) x volume fraction x carbide
hardness (kg/mm2))
Thomas R = 204 - (70 (%C) - 4 ( %Si) - 15 (%Cr)1/2 - 80 (Mo*)1/3
1969 Mo* = %Mo + 0.5%V + 2%V + %Nb
R is the wear rate relative to H13 steel

(*) Model used by Bariani, 1996, Batit 1983, includes an exponent to the hardness Hm, Eriksen 1997, Painter
1996. (Archard model). Use of computer simulation (Tulsyan, Shivpuri et al. 1993; Painter, Shivpuri et al.
1994)

Table 7-1. Table summarizing different wear models found in literature

7.2. PLASTIC DEFORMATION


Plastic deformation occurs in areas of dies that experience intense pressures but does
not have enough strength or hardness at the working temperatures to geometrically
resist the metal flow. This mode of failure occurs especially at sharp corners that have
very high surface to volume ratios, that experience high heating and subsequent
tempering.

90
Storen and others (Tulsyan, Shivpuri et al. 1993) provide a good criterion, given in
equation 2.1, to avoid plastic deformation in forging dies. They say that one can avoid
deformation related die failure if we follow the following criterion.

σ Z p 0.75 × H B Equation 7-2

where HB is the Brinell hardness of the die material at the maximum


temperature, σ Z is the local normal pressures. In hot or warm forgings, the hardness
levels changes over the course of a run because of tempering effects. Also, the
roughness of the surface, to some extent, affects the heat transfer coefficient, heating
and hence the hardness.

To model plastic deformation, , we need the following pieces of information.


• Hardness of dies with temperature; material data
• Tempering curves; material data
• Heat transfer rates and contact times; process data

7.3. MECHANICAL FATIGUE


Appendix 11 presents an overview of low cycle fatigue that is the common form of
mechanical fatigue in forging operations. Low-fatigue test results is to plot the plastic
strain range ∆εp against number of cycles N. The plot of strain against number of cycles
using a log scale for N results in a straight line that is known as Coffin-Manson law.
These curves in a plastic strain range are very relevant for hot and forging applications.
Figure 7.1 (Dieter 1986) illustrates a probabilistic S-N curve typically found in
literature.

Figure 7-1 S-N curve with probability lines or S-N-P (Dieter 1986)

The first model for strain controlled fatigue is known as Coffin-Manson law:

91
C −1 / 2 −m
∆ ε p = N f or ∆ε p = = N f Equation 7-3
2

Were ∆ε p is the plastic strain, Nf is the number of cycles to failure, C and m are
material constants.

Manson found later a graphic method to evaluate fatigue based on static tensile tests. A
method called universal slopes was also presented by Manson, and it also included a
model that as following:

3.5σ u −1 / 2 − 0 .6
∆ε p = Nf + D 0 .6 N f Equation 7-4
E
were the first term is the elastic strain and the second term is the plastic strain.
σ u is conventional ultimate strength
E is the elastic modulus
Nf is the number of cycles to failure
ε f (represented by D) is conventional logarithmic ductility

The graphical representation of this equation is shown in figure 7.2, and it is a very
useful way to evaluate fatigue using static tensile test data.

Figure 7-2. Illustration of the methods for estimating fatigue based in static properties
(Manson 1972)

To evaluate mechanical fatigue, we need the following


• Plastic strain; process data
• Elastic modulus; material data
• Ultimate tensile strength; material data
• Ductility; material data

92
7.4. THERMAL FATIGUE
Thermal fatigue is caused due to non-uniform temperature distribution between the
surface of dies and the interior. Any temperature differences between the surface and
interior results in strain differentials due to varying thermal expansion. When the
resulting stress at the surface exceeds the yield strength of the material we have
yielding of surface layers. Extended cycling will result in crack initiation and
subsequent growth of thermal cracks. If the maximum and minimum temperatures a
die location experiences, then low cycle fatigue occurs if

1−ν σ 1−ν σ



 Equation 7-5
α T _T > 2


1 + 2 
  2
2 1
 E E
1 2
where α is the mean coefficient of thermal expansion
ν is the poisson ratio
σ is the stress
indices 1 and 2 indicate the maximum and minimum values

Crack Initiation occurs when the following criterion (from Coffin-Manson) is met.

N n ε p = Cε Equation 7-6
F f
where N is the number of cycles to crack initiation
n is a material constant from 0 to 1
ε p is the plastic strain range
C is a constant that is between 0 and 1
ε f is the true deformation to fracture – a material property.
Crack growth occurs at a rate given by Equation 7-7.

1−ν σ 1−ν σ


   
Equation 7-7
da = aρ ε q = aρ α T −T  −  1 1 −  2 2 ]
q
 p 
dN     2 1 E E
1 2
where
a is the crack length
N is the number of cycles
ρ and q are positive constants dependent on material.

Any physical or process factors that impact the strain difference, impacts heat
checking.

To model thermal fatigue, we need the following pieces of information.


• Ductility of dies with temperature; material data
• Hardness of die; material data
• Yield strength of dies; material data
• Poisson ratio; material data

93
• Thermal conductivity and thermal expansion coefficient; material data
• Heat transfer rates and contact times; process data

94
8. CLOSURE
The yield strength of the die material at the surface, exposed to the high contact
temperatures, is one fundamental property influencing die failure. It affects the
occurrence of the following failures:
• Plastic deformation
• Thermal fatigue (crack initiation)
• Mechanical Fatigue (crack initiation)
• Wear
As the hot and warm forging dies reach high temperature during the working cycles, it
is necessary that the hot yield strength stays stable during the hot work. The yield
strength is the property that directly resists the working pressure, and keeps the dies
working in the elastic field macroscopically. This working condition will provide forged
pieces inside the geometrical tolerance range. However, critical regions of dies can be
subjected to high stresses that can lead to plastic deformation. The thermal stress-
strain, or the mechanical stress-strain state can cause thermal fatigue or mechanical
fatigue, respectively. As the amount of plastic strain is the driven cause for fatigue
crack initiation, high yield strength will reduce the amount of plastic strain, retarding
or avoiding the crack initiation. The wear resistance is direct proportional to the yield
strength, represented in the models by the hardness.

The ductility or plasticity of the hot work tool steel is other important property.
Although the dies should work in the elastic regime, localized plastic deformations can
occur. The plastic deformations from thermal origin are difficult to avoid, especially in
regions of high thermal load. In this case, the number of cycle to crack initiation will be
direct proportional to the ductility limit (area reduction in tensile test). Also, crack
propagation is believed to be controlled by plastic deformation in the low cycle fatigue
regimes typical in warm and hot forging.

The toughness or fracture toughness is the materials ability to resist crack growth. This
property will allow the dies to work at a higher stress-crack size without reach the
condition for fragile fracture that will leads to the die catastrophic failure. Low
toughness also increases the crack growth rate.

From the fundamentals of wear, we can safely say that apart from hardness and
subsequent softening of die materials, pressures and the amount of sliding also affect
the failure rates. As discussed in previous chapters, pressure is primarily dictated by
forging material, forging temperature, lubricant used and the geometry of the dies. It
also depends on the die closure, flash and the type of forging equipment used. The
preform shape, lubricant and flash, control sliding distances dies experience during
forging. Surface hardness depends on, apart from the alloy composition and
microstructure, coating or surface treatments used, lubricant, thermal cycling and to
an extent, preheating.

Unfortunately, the interaction of the forging parameters and the wear and failure rates
is too complex to draw any direct correlation. For instance, forging temperature reduces
the wear resistance of the surface. Also, higher temperatures typically produce thicker,
but not necessarily more adherent, scale. Scales, if adherent, increases wear. However,
the loads felt by the die is lower because of the lower flow stress of the material at high
temperatures. Wear rates, here, would be controlled the relative magnitudes of these
effects and can be predicted only by analyzing all these factors together.

95
It is also important to note that dwell times, heating times and cycle times also have
contrasting effects on wear of dies. Increased heating time would increase scale
formation. In a 2 or 3-step operation involving descaling, this would not be a big factor.
But process designs that employ single blows should pay special attention to heating
times and heating atmosphere. On a side note, thicker scales act as insulators and
keep the billet hotter. Sometimes, scales also act as lubricant, reducing loads. By
increasing dwell time, when the die is in contact with the billet, the lower dies
experience substantial softening. But this also cools the billet in contact with the lower
die, reducing sliding. Preheating, though effective in reducing the chance of
catastrophic failure and thermal fatigue, increases wear by reducing the hardness and
wear resistance.

As we see, there are many controlling factors that affect wear and die failure. It is
important to evaluate wear as a cumulative result of all these process variables. There
are several models proposed in the literature that try to capture some of these
relationships.

There are several interrelated parameters that affect the performance of forging dies. In
working to improve hot and warm forging dies performance the fundamental step is to
identify what is the dominant failure mechanism. Only with this information, it is
possible to improve the correct properties, and optimize the correct process parameters
that will result in better die performance. During this process, it should be noted that
solutions to reduce wear are different from those that reduce thermal fatigue and
mechanical fatigue. Use of computer simulations (Tulsyan, Shivpuri et al. 1993;
Painter, Shivpuri et al. 1994) could be a necessary first step to evaluate the conditions
at the die-billet interface before a good solution can be obtained.

Although there are several modes of die and tooling failure, because of safety reasons,
the main concern of a tool designer is catastrophic failure of dies. In very few cases,
designers employ predictive model to design tooling to avoid catastrophic failure. The
tendency, in forging industry, is to use material with low hardness and high toughness.
However, beyond a point, toughness does not bring any benefit to the die life. Because
of lock of good understanding of fatigue failure, the design and material choice is done
very conservatively.

Low hardness, because of lower alloying content, reduces the wear resistance. The wear
resistance is function of the tool steel hot hardness, and the carbides in the matrix
(amount, size, and hot hardness). However, generally these carbides reduce the ductility
and toughness. Carbides, necessary to resist wear, can be detrimental to resist die
fracture (toughness) and fatigue (ductility). The wear resistance needs the material to
possess hot yield strength. Thermal fatigue resistance is improved by both critical
ductility is at room temperature and hot hardness. The alloying contents command
both hot hardness and ductility. By carefully tailoring the microstructure and alloy
content to the application, it is possible to balance the different failure mechanisms
such that the tool life is highest. The alloying content in the matrix can be modified by
the heat treatment that controls the dissolved alloys in carbide form. However, higher
the undissolved carbides, higher is the wear resistance. But the thermal fatigue
resistance reduces with higher amounts of undissolved carbide. As can be seen, there is
a complex inter-relation between failures mechanisms and properties that need to be
understood and applied correctly to improve the life of the dies for hot and warm
forging.

We understand that the wear needs a more detailed evaluation under the conditions
usually found in hot and warm forging, and the same is valid for the interactions
between wear and the thermal fatigue. Based in these needs we developed a new test for

96
applications to die forging at high temperature that can evaluate simultaneously the
wear-thermal fatigue failure mechanisms.

It is essential to understand the mechanisms of die failure completely before we can


attempt to increase die lives. As mentioned before, die wear is the major mechanism of
die failure in high temperature forging, followed by mechanical fatigue. We emphasize
that the wear failure initiation can caused or increased by thermal fatigue, as indicated
by: micro observation of the die cavity, and the higher wear rate in dies with more
severe temperature cycle. However, in most cases, several modes of failure act in
conjunction. In this section, we summarize the effect of various criterions on die failure.

97
9. APPENDIX A – FUNDAMENTALS OF DIE
FAILURE

Abrasive wear
Wear is the progressive loss of substance from the operating surface-of a body occurring
as a result of relative motion at the surface (Czichos 1978) and also due to the tribo-
chemical reactions (Gahr 1979). Predominant wear mechanisms present in metal
forming can be classified as sliding wear mechanisms and non-sliding wear
mechanisms (Stachowiak 1993). Sliding wear mechanisms include abrasive wear,
adhesive wear, and delamination wear. Non-sliding wear mechanisms include solution
wear, diffusion wear, electro-mechanical wear and oxidation wear, or tribo-oxidation
wear (Gahr 1979)

Abrasive wear arises when a hard, rough surface slides against a softer surface, digs
into it, and plows a series of grooves. The material originally in the groves is normally
removed in the form of loose fragments, or forms ridges along each groove. The material
in the ridges is then vulnerable to subsequent complete removal from the surface
(Stachowiak 1993)
In hot forging conditions, abrasive wear may be compounded by the presence of hard
third phase particles in the interface. These particles may be hard oxides or scales,
external-contaminating particles or other hard carbides dislodged from the die surface.
Abrasive wear results in the displacement of die material from the surface. This is
typically, either caused by the presence of hard particles between the die and the
deforming billet or protuberances embedded in the billet. The hardness of the particle
that causes the initial groove has to be equal to or greater than the hardness of the die.
Figure 9.1 (Stachowiak 1993) illustrates a typical abrasive wear groove.

Figure 9-1. Appearance of plough marks caused by abrasive wear (Stachowiak 1993)

98
Figure 9-2. Different mechanisms of wear in abrasion (Stachowiak 1993)

In abrasive wear, there are again different mechanisms present. Figues 11.2 show the
surfaces produced by the different mechanisms of abrasive wear - micro cutting, micro-
fracture, micro-fatigue and grain pull out.

Adhesive Wear
The tendency of contacting surfaces to adhere arises from the attractive forces that exist
between the surface atoms of the two materials. If two surfaces are brought together
and then separated, either normally or tangentially, these attractive forces act in such a
way as to attempt to pull material from one surface onto the other. Whenever material
is removed from its original surface in this way, an adhesive wear fragment is created
(Rabinowicz 1995).

Adhesive wear occurs between two sliding surfaces, and the material is transferred from
one surface to another due to a process of solid-phase welding. The early experiments
on adhesive wear were carried out with metals, were the process of adhesion was
referred to as “welding”. By contrast, it is preferable in all cases to use the term
“adhesive wear” rather than “wear by welding”. Figure 9.3 illustrates the welding and
adhesion phenomenon.

99
Figure 9-3 .a) A typical metallurgical weld. b) A typical adhesion joint (Rabinowicz
1995).

Adhesive wear in hot forging can be very similar to welding since the interface
temperatures can be as high as 1200°C. This phenomena is generally manifested in the
die picking up portions of the billet material and is accelerated when nascent metallic
die surface comes into contact with the hot billet. This may occur after the following
sequence of events:
• The lubricant layers and oxidation layers in the both die surface and billet surface
have been removed by abrasive wear

• The base metal of the billet makes contact with the base die steel

• The reduced sliding of the billet material with respect to the die material is minimal
but the pressure is very high.

• The part is ejected form the die. Either a portion of the die material is removed with
the billet or a portion of the billet material adheres to the die. This second possibility
is more common since the die material is generally several times stronger than the
billet material.
Oxidation Wear
Research about wear in forging suggest that the main wear mechanisms in forging are
abrasion and adhesion. Both mechanisms are classified as mechanical-sliding.
Oxidation can affect wear in hot forging dies because the following reasons.
The oxide film can influence the tool-workpiece interface, especially critical in adhesion
- the thermal fatigue cracks can start in oxidized points, and the cracks are
filled with oxides
- The dies can lose material by oxidation, due to the temperature range at
which the dies surface operates
Summerville and Subramanian (Summerville, Venkatesan et al. 1995) shows (Figure
9.4 a) an example of a hot forging punch with severe wear. The punch central region,

100
that has low sliding, is more affected by oxidation and thermal fatigue. Figure 9.4 (b)
and 11.4 (c) shows how critical the temperatures at the dies surface can be in
determining plastic deformation, phase transformation, oxidation and melting. While
the bulk dies temperature is usually around 350°F. The dies sub-surface temperature
usually reaches 1100°F, although the peak temperature at surface can reach as high as
1650°F in certain applications. The Figure 9.4(d) shows thermal fatigue cracks filled
with oxides (Ribeiro 1998).

b) (Doege 1994)
a) (Summerville, Venkatesan et al.
1995)

c) (Summerville, Venkatesan et al. d) (Ribeiro 1998)


1995)

Figure 9-4. a): Hot forging top blocker punch made form H13. b) Cross section of the
punch c) mottled interface d) Oxidation inside of thermal fatigue crack

Corrosive and oxidative wear occurs in a wide variety of situations both lubricated and
unlubricated. Oxidative wear is the wear of dry unlubricated, or even lubricated, metals

101
in the presence of air or oxygen. When thick oxide films are in the worn surfaces, low
wear prevails. When oxide films are absent or broken down, severe wear occurs, and
adhesive wear might be the dominant wear mechanism. The fundamental cause of
these forms of wear is a chemical reaction between the worn material and a corroding
medium that can be a chemical reagent, reactive lubricant or air (Holmes 1972),
(Quinn, Sullivan et al. 1980; Quinn 1983; Quinn 1991)
In the hot forging temperature range the oxide films form very quickly, and the surface
oxidation of the hot forging die can be detected even visually, as the die is submitted to
work. Considering that an oxide film exists on the surface of the die cavity, it could be
beneficial or detrimental to the wear:
The detrimental results will occur when this oxide layer forms and is removed in each
forging operation, causing oxidative wear. The oxide layer detachment could also permit
adhesion, although the thick interlayer die-oxide-billet is still present. The beneficial
results will occur when the oxide acts as an insulation layer between the billet and the
die, preventing adhesive wear
The general result of pin disc test shows that the oxide film formation reduces the wear
rate, it agrees with the expectation because the oxide film layer does not permit
adhesion to occur. Note that in the pin-disc test the oxide layer before wear has only a
few nanometers (Stachowiak 1993), and even during the tests it grows only a few
micrometers (Quinn 1991); resulting in reduction of the wear rate. In the hot forging
process the die-billet interlayer is bigger than in the wear tests, is because it includes: a
relatively thick billet-oxide layer, a relatively thick lubricant layer, an oxide layer in the
surface, due to its exposure to high temperatures.

The thickness of the hot forging inter-layer far exceeds the few atoms thick layer
necessary to prevent adhesion, in basic pin-disc test; although the hot forging inter-
layer is submitted to severe conditions (high pressure, velocities, and temperatures)
that can brake and take way the oxide layer. What the pin-disc testes show is that an
oxide layer reduce the wear, consequently we have to look for conditions that permit to
form and keep some oxide layer in the hot forging dies surface. The lubricant-oxide
layers that separate the billet and the die can be considered thicker than 50 µm.
Remember that the usual oxide thickness that provides wear reduction in pin-disc
tests, is less then 5 µm thick (Quinn 1991)

Colombier (Columbier 1965) presents many oxidation rates for allowing elements like
Cr, Al and Si. They are presented in function of the allowing contents, and or
temperature. The behavior' analysis can help to project the surface modification by
coating or heat treatments. Chromium is per excellence the element to be used to
obtain high scaling resistance; its effects begin to appear at around 5%. These 5% Cr
steels are resistant to temperatures of to order of 600°C-650°C. The addition of 2% Al to
a 6% Cr steel virtually suppresses scaling at 800°C over a test period of 100 hours.

Thermal Fatigue
The appearance of a fine network of cracks in the hot and warm forging dies is known
as heat checking. The hot and warm forging processes have a typical cycle that causes
heating and cooling of the dies surfaces. The billet at high temperature is compressed
into the die cavity causing a drastic increase in the surface temperature. The
temperature increase at the surface of the die causes its expansion. At the same time,
the lower temperature of the die block constrains the expansion, generating
compressive stress. Next, the part is ejected from the die and the dies are lubricated.
During the cooling or lubrication, the process is reversed causing tensile stress. The
usual thermal cycle in hot and warm forging can result in thermal expansion that
results in strain reaching plastic limits. When cracks are formed by repetitive change in

102
temperatures the phenomenon is thermal fatigue. Figure 9.5 illustrates this
phenomenon.

(-)

Y
I
E
L

S
T
R
E
N
G
T
H

(+)

STRAIN

Figure 9-5. Illustrates physical changes on the die surface that results in heat
checking (Norstrom 1991)

When the die surface start heating up, the parent metal that is still cold restricts the
thermal expansion resulting in a compressive stress and hence a compressive strain.
This compressive tress is initially in the elastic regime(A). If the temperature
differential is high, the stresses become plastic. This results in permanent
compressive strain on the surface. This state is indicated as state B in Figure 9.5.
After the forging process, the dies are lubricated. Because of the coolant, the surface
cools faster than the bulk resulting in State C – where the surface stresses become
tensile and the strains reach elastic limit. Beyond C , all the induced thermal strain is
plastic. The next part made continues to thermally cycle the surface resulting in slow
deterioration of the surface.
The main factors that affect thermal fatigue are forging temperature, heating-cooling
rates, time-temperature history, hot resistance of the die steel, temper resistance of die
steel, ductility and initial hardness of die steel, toughness, cleanliness and homogeneity
of die steel and its heat treatment.

Temperature is the main parameter that controls thermal fatigue. There are different
ways temperature influences thermal fatigues. It not only increases the thermal

103
gradient that causes thermal expansion and stress but also reduces the material
strength by causing metallurgical transformations. High temperature decreases the hot
yield strength, and causes softening by tempering effects. The Larson-Miller curve, used
extensively to evaluate, represents the hardness variation as function of time and
temperature. High temperature also makes the surface weaker and more prone to
oxidation. A drastic cooling rate in intricate dies can also lead to an excessive stress-
strain state and result in gross crack by thermal shock.
The yield strength at maximum cycle temperature is directly proportional to the amount
of plastic strain in the die surface during the thermal cycles, and the plastic strain is
the cause of the heat checking. If the material suffers softening by temper effect, the
plastic strain will increase in the same proportion. A correct die prediction has to
consider the softening and use the instantaneous material properties along the thermal
cycles.

Higher values of yield strength or hot hardness will reduce the percentage of plastic
deformation that is ultimate cause of damage. Consequently high hot yield strength can
reduce or even avoid thermal fatigue. However, for practical application in hot die
casting dies the increase in hot yield strength is limited if it is accompanied by:
decrease in ductility, toughness or thermal shock resistance. When those properties are
low, they bring a risk of catastrophic failure or gross cracking by thermal shock.
The die’s material needs to be able to resist the pre-heating temperature and the cycles’
temperature without excessive lost of hardness. The effect of the cycle temperature is
the sum of the time’s cycle in the range of the maximum temperature. This property is
represented by the temper curve, especially Larson-Miller type, and by the creep curves.
The thermal fatigue tests confirm that the materials more temperature resistant present
better resistance when the other properties are similar.

The crack initiation is directly proportional to the ductility; as can be seen in the item
with the mathematical models, and It also influences the crack growth. Other aspect is
that if ductility became too low it can cause crack growth rapidly leading to failure with
few cycles, more like and thermal shock or gross cracking. Experimental results shows
that tool materials with low ductility (less than 30% area reduction) presented more
thermal fatigue, and even thermal shock, either when the other properties where in the
same range (Malm and Tidlund 1979), (Rostoker 1969), (Roberts and Norstrom 1987),

The Charpy-V notch impact test is a more common way to measure toughness. Due to
its simplicity, there are many results available. The other test is the fracture toughness
or Kie that has fewer results available because is more difficult to perform and more
expansive. Although, kic has the advantage of to be used in a quantitative way to
evaluate catastrophic failure. The knowledge of Kic for a working condition permits to
calculate the admissible combination of stress and crack depth that do not cause
catastrophic failure. The toughness and the thermal shock resistance seem to be much
related, because both express resistance to crack growing. The first case the mechanical
effort drives the stress and in the second case temperature drives the stress (Norstrom,
Johansson et al. 1981). The thought material permits a die to work with high level of
heat checking without the risk of fragile fracture or gross crack. The toughness it self
(Kic or Charpy-V notch) is not included in the models for crack initiation or crack
growth. The experimental results also do not show direct relation between toughness
and heat checking resistance.
The cleanness, homogeneity and chemical composition are the most commons’ points
related with property improvement and better performance in process. The properties in
transversal direction tend to be lower, and as the dies suffer efforts in all directions, the
improvement in transversal properties will produce direct effects in dies’ performance.
The ductility limit is the critical property for thermal fatigue resistance that is improved
by cleanness and homogeneity. The other property that improves is the toughness;

104
related with gross crack and thermal shock. Several authors showed that ductility
improves by cleanness and homogeneity, and that it also results in better thermal
fatigue performance (Johnson and Hamaker 1968; Beck and Santhanam 1976; Okuno
1987; Roberts and Norstrom 1987; Schmitd 1987; Nichols 1988).

The focus of this discussion about dies heat treatment is directed to its effects in
thermal fatigue resistance. The yield strength, or hardness, and the ductility limits are
the controlling variables for thermal fatigue resistance, considering the material a
constant. As a lack in toughness can cause dies’ failure by gross cracking, the influence
of heat treatment in toughness is also considered. Nostrom (Norstrom 1989) considers
the ductility is influenced primarily by steel manufacturing quality (metallurgical
treatments, etc.) while toughness is influenced chiefly by the final heat treatment of the
die itself (cooling rate in hardening, etc.).
The low quenching rate is the most critical parameter that we found to cause low
toughness or low ductility. The low cooling rates can be result of operational features of
the largely used vacuum furnaces or can precaution against the risk of thermal shock
crack in intricate dies. There are two problems associated with low cooling rates, as
following:
• Grain boundary precipitation
• Bainite formation
Becker (Becker, Fuchs et al. 1989) shows an example of reduction in toughness due to
carbides’ precipitation in grain boundary. Wallace, Roberts, and Norstrom (Wallace
1989) (Roberts and Norstrom 1987) made a systematic evaluation of the toughness in
function of martensite, bainite, and grain boundary precipitation. The conclusions are
clear and important and shows the following:

• The pure upper bainite has the same toughness range as martensite.
• The grain boundary precipitation reduces both martensite and bainite toughness.
• The use of 300° F preheating for dies will not increase the toughness of the poorly
treated steels.
Finally, the emphases in materials properties to resist thermal fatigue are:
• To have a high hot yield strength (to avoid or reduce the plastic deformation)
• To have a high tempering resistance (to keep the hardness along the work)
• To have a high ductility (to resist the plastic deformation)

Plastic Deformation
Plastic deformation is a die failure mechanism that occurs at regions of the die that is
subjected to extreme pressure and temperatures. This occurs when the local stresses
result in die stresses exceeding the local yield strength of the die material. Typical areas
of the die that are prone to plastic deformation are sharp corners of the dies and thin
protuberances that trap a lot of heat during the forging process.
Since extreme pressures and temperatures cause this mode of failure, increased local
forging stresses will increase the chance of plastic deformation. Consequently, all design
and process criterion that impact stresses and die temperatures have an effect on the
plastic deformation of dies. Of these, the forging temperature, size and geometry of the
forging, lubricant used, forging cycle times, type of equipment used and the type of
forging (whether it is conventional or flashless) are the most important factors. These

105
parameters either increase local stresses or reduce the strength of the die by thermal
softening or a combination of both.

From basic metal forming theory, it is well known that the hardness of the material is
about 3 times the yield stress of the material. However, when the thickness of the plate
reduces, the measured hardness measured drops to less than 3 times yield stress. For
these sections, the hardness measured could be as low as 1.15 times the local yield
stress. Figure (6) by Schey (Schey 1987) illustrates this phenomena. Similarly, in metal
forming, features like sharp corners and projections that geometrically “thin” and
possess less rigidity tend to deform plastically first. Also, these features tend to heat up
quickly because of high exposed surface area, resulting in reduced local hardness.
Simulation of the forging process and analyzing the die stresses and comparing it to the
hot strength of the die material may be the most accurate way to predict plastic
deformation.

Figure 9-6. Illustration of geometry effect on normal uni-axial stresses required to


indent a slab (Schey 1987)

Hence, for a specific process, die material selection becomes very important. Hot
strength or hot hardness of the die is the most important property necessary to
withstand plastic deformation. Die steels with high hot strength will resist plastic
deformation better than steels whose strength drops drastically with temperature. For
instance, for dies whose mode of failue is plastic deformation at high temperatures,
nickel based superalloys like Nimonic and Inconel 718 may be good substitutes.
Plastic deformation is also very prominent at microscopic levels. Plastic deformation
occurs at the interface of die and billet. Because of the high temperatures typical in the
interface, die material on the surface becomes extremely soft and pliable. Figures 11.7
11.8 and 11.9 by Summerville and coorwers (Summerville, Venkatesan et al. 1995)
shows various levels of plastic deformation found in the die-billet interface.

106
Figure 9-7. Examples of severe plastic deformation at the die surface (Summerville,
Venkatesan et al. 1995)

Figure 9-8. Example of surface plastic deformation (Summerville, Venkatesan et al.


1995)

107
Figure 9-9. Example of surface plastic deformation (Summerville, Venkatesan et al.
1995)

Mechanical Fatigue and Cracking in Hot and Warm Forging Dies


Several factors interact in a very complex nature to affect the performance of tooling
during a forging process (Figure 9.10). One of the failure modes very common in forging
tooling is mechanical fatigue and cracking. Mechanics of mechanical fatigue is well
documented. The process can be divided in three steps:
• Crack initiation
• Crack growth
• Catastrophic failure

The forging dies are subjected to high pressures in order to fill the die cavity. In high
volume batch production like a forging operation, dies are subjected to repeated loading
and unloading (Figure 9.11). Similar to thermal fatigue, mechanical fatigue is caused
by alternating stresses that cause strains at crack tips regions exceed the plastic limit.
Repeated loading of the crack results in the advancement or propagation of cracks
resulting in gross cracking.

There are several models that are present in the literature that model the fracture
behavior of materials. Appendix D details these models and provides different ways of
modeling fatigue crack initiation, propagation and catastrophic failure. Figure 9.12
(Dieter 1986) represents the different phases of crack growth in a fatigue failure. These
models have enabled researchers to quantify objectively, the fatigue resistance of
materials at low and high stress levels. These models try to identify the number of
cycles necessary to initiate a crack or necessary to propagate a crack by a given
amount.

108
Figure 9-10 Schematic interaction between the parameter in hot forging and the
cracking (Knorr 1993)

Figure 9-11 Illustration of a critical region in extrusion dies, where the fillet radius is
subject to tensile stress (Cser, Geiger et al. 1993)

109
Figure 9-12. Representation of the fatigue crack propagation (Dieter 1986)

Figure 9-13 Tulsan (Tulsyan, Shivpuri et al. 1993) presents a curve form Storen and
others for different tool steels and heat treatment. a) fracture toughness properties as
function of the working temperatures and the heat treatments b) materials and heat
treatment list

Using these models, there has been a lot of testing done to characterize high and low
cycle mechanical fatigue. However, most of the testing have been performed on alloys
that are not commonly used in high temperature forging. Most of the testing have been
done at room temperature. The hot and warm forging dies works in temperatures higher
than room temperature. Dies are preheated to improve toughness. Also, the die surfaces

110
heat up due to the contact with the hot billet. It is necessary to consider the working
condition when looking at the fatigue curves.

The fatigue test at high temperature showed that environment effects the fatigue
resistance. The tests involving air and vacuum atmospheres showed that the
phenomena in dependent of the temperature and the frequency (Figure 9.13) (Tulsyan,
Shivpuri et al. 1993). Studies by Storen have indicated that oxidation also increases the
fatigue damage. In hot and warming forging operations the dies are also in contact with
spray that contains water and lubricant, and that could cause also affect fatigue.

Fatigue data that could be applied towards metal forming applications should consider
the following
• Tool steel, heat treatment, surface treatment, and coatings applicable to hot and
warm forging
• Fatigue test temperature at dies working temperature range
• Cycle time and frequencies compatible with forging equipment and forging
production rate
• Evaluation of the effect of water spray, and water-lubricant spray
The following figures (Figure 9.14, Figure 9.15, Figure 9.16, Table 11.1.) illustrates the
temperature influence.

Figure 9-14 Results in air and vacuum atmospheres, showing the ambient effect at
the fatigue resistance in high temperatures (Salomon 1972)

111
Figure 9-15 Correlation of high and low cycle fatigue data for solution treated type
304 stainless steel as a function of alternating stress (Soo 1972).

112
Figure 9-16 Effect of Temperature on Fatigue-Crack-Growth behavior of 2 1/4 Cr-1Mo
steel (Viswnathan 1989).

113
Figure 9-17 Variation of fatigue-Crack-growth rates as function of temperature at ∆K
= 30Mpa (m)1/2 (Viswnathan 1989)

114
Table 9-1. Results for crack propagation typo Paris da/dN for the constants “C, n”. b)
Materials compositions for the hot tool steels used (Schuchtar 1988).

From the models, we see that toughness is essential in avoiding gross cracking.
Toughness is the ability of the material to withstand large plastic strains. While
increasing yield strain increases the fatigue resistance of dies, it frequently reduces the
hardness of the dies and its wear resistance. To avoid catastrophic failure, one must
reduce the mechanical stress, increase the material toughness and avoid die-
manufacturing processes that induce stress cracks. Geometrical features of the part
and die, that increase stresses also reduce the fatigue life of the tooling. These could be

• Sharp fillets and corners


• Thin rib-like sections (that increase forging pressures)
• Geometry of part and flash
• Forged material

The increase in toughness is generally associated with reduction in yield strength – a


function of alloying elements and microstructure. As yield strength is essential in giving
the material its wear resistance and thermal fatigue resistance, increasing mechanical
fatigue resistance is detrimental to the die’s resistance to other modes of die failure.
A good approach to selecting the right material would be to evaluate the die life using
the stress-strain state in the dies cavity. Analytic methods like slab or upper bound, or
Finite Element Methods (FEM) can give stresses and strains required in the analysis.
The FEM is applicable to more complex geometry and gives field distribution. The
second step is to use the contact pressures to calculate de stress-stain distribution in

115
the dies, with analytic or FEM methods. Finally, a more precise evaluation should
consider the strains due to mechanical stress and due to thermal stress. Using the
stress and strain variations and the appropriate constants, the fatigue life needs to be
calculated.
The final goal when design the forging process is to obtain a sound forged piece without
dies’ catastrophic failure. However, it is also necessary to keep a good die life by
avoiding excessive die wear and thermal fatigue. Some examples of actions to reduce
mechanical fatigue are:
• Increase corner radii, if possible
• Use inserts and prestress dies in rings
• Use correct die block heat treatment (low quenching rates tends to cause carbide
precipitation in grain boundary that reduces the toughness). The inserts can also
help to have small sections to quench.
• Use surface heat treatments, coatings or surfacing that allow to have high block
toughness combined with higher properties at the cavity surface
• Use die preheating that increase the toughness
• Avoid die overloading due to process variations
Several die geometry effect in the stress state were presented by Knorr and Shivpuri
(Knorr 1993), from Mareczek and Stute-Schlamme, Erlmann et al., and some are
presented in the figures 11.16 presents examples of this effects.

116
a) Die deflection due improper support a- b) a- concave support 1mm
flat, b) convex c- concave b- convex support 1mm
c- flat support
Die bottom surface
Fillet radius
Die wall
Corner radius at flash

c) Influence of die geometry on stress


d) Influence of die geometry on stress

Figure 9-18 series of cases with stress concentration in forging dies presented by
Knorr (Knorr 1993). a) – b) From Erlmann at al.; c) -d) From Mareczek

117
10. APPENDIX B – WEAR INDICES OF VARIOUS
DIE MATERIALS

Figure 10-1. Abrasion resistance of several tool steels versus structural parameter
(wear index) (Blau 1992)

118
Figure 10-2. Variation of wear index with die hardness at room temperature
(Kannapan 1969; Kannapan 1970)

119
Figure 10-3. Wear resistance of .55% C die steel with hardness, % Cr and heat
treatment. 1 indicates (Kannapan 1969; Kannapan 1970)

120
Figure 10-4. Wear test results using different die materials (Bramley, Lord et al. 1989)

121
Figure 10-5. Wear test results using different die materials (Bramley, Lord et al. 1989)

Figure 10-6. Variation of wear index with different die steels. The graphs also
illustrate the effect of different forging steel (Thomas 1970)

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11. APPENDIX C - PROCESS EFFECT ON DIE
LIFE

Die Design
Die or cavity design plays a very important role in the failure of dies. The various
aspects of cavity that impact the die wear and failure are:
• Cavity size / diameter or width of part
• Flash design and flash less designs
• Corner radii and draft angles
• Preform design
Prime cause of die wear is sliding and high normal stresses on the die. As a result, any
aspect of die design that impacts these will affect die failure. Aspects of the die cavity
that impact the die pressures are the cavity depth, size of the part, flash thickness, size
of flash gutter, part geometry and the preform or blocker design. Heinemeyer
(Heinemeyer 1976) studied the relationship between the die life and the cavity depth
using 160 part geometries and 2300 production runs. The trend he obtained from his
studies is shown in Figure 13.1. Heinemeyer also reports the effect of energy and load
on die wear (Figure 11.2). However, Heinemeyer’s deduction that nominal load increase
die life may be inaccurate. It is well known fact that higher the loads, higher are the
normal pressures on the dies and higher is the ensuing wear.

Aston and Muir (Aston 1969) and later, Aston and Barry (Aston, Hopkins et al. 1972)
did a series of analysis of data from forge shops in England. They derived empirical
relationships between damage and a series of design and process variables. From their
study, they found that damage increases with the forging weight (Figure 11.3). It is
possible, there were other factors that changed the nature of relationship between the
nominal load and wear. Also, the damage increases with the size of forging (Figure
11.4). Aston and others also noted that damage increased with weight, draft angle, and
dropped with increasing radius and increasing contact area (Figure 11.5). Again, this is
fallacious because, it is well known that, if all other factors are kept constant, the
tonnage required is directly related to the size of the forging.

123
Figure 11-1. Effect of maximum cavity depth on die life (Heinemeyer 1976)

Figure 11-2. Effect of nominal load and energy on average die lives (Heinemeyer 1976)

124
Figure 11-3. Effect of forging weight on die damage (Aston 1969)

125
Figure 11-4. Variation of die damage with size of forging (Aston and Barry 1972)

126
Figure 11-5. Effect of forging weight, fillet radii, draft angles and contact area on wear
of forging dies (Aston 1969)

Flash design is extremely important in defining the loads in a forging process.


Consequently, flash design becomes a factor that affects the die life also. A higher
nominal load on the press directly translates into higher stress on the die. This could
damage the die in many ways. High stress cycling could result in mechanical fatigue
and cracking. Also, higher normal pressures on the die surface will result in higher
abrasive wear. However, restricting flash size is essential to ensure good fill.

Billet alloy
The forging pressure is directly proportional to the wear damage. Billet materials that
have high yield strengths at high temperatures, will result in high die pressures that
will result in more wear. Figure 11.6 by Thomas illustrates this effect. He reports that
as the carbon content increases, the die stress and the die wear increases. High carbon
also forms more carbides that results in higher abrasion of dies.

Alloy steels like stainless steels also result in high wear because they form very
destructive oxide layers that are very adherent. These oxide layers can not be broken
easily and increase the wear. However, no quantitative results exist in this area. Other
examples of material with high yield stress that causes accentuated wear are alloys for
turbine blades and engine valves (Tulsyan, Shivpuri et al. 1993; Painter, Shivpuri et al.
1994).

Figure 11-6. Effect of various tool steel on die wear (Thomas 1970)

127
Part tolerances and surface requirements
Part tolerances and machining allowances built into a forging invariably play an
important role in deciding when forging dies need to be pulled from service. For
example, the die life in forging a part with .100” stock using conventional dies will be
much more than the die life expected in forging a similar sized toothed part with net
shaped surfaces. Part tolerances, hence, should always be specified with the good
understanding of the process and the forging application.

Billet Temperature
Loosely speaking, forging at a lower billet temperature has the same effect as using a
higher carbon alloy. Forging at lower temperatures increases the flow stress of the steel
and the load required to forge a part. It also decreases the formability of the steel.
However, forging at lower temperature reduces the tempering the die steel experiences
by reducing the surface temperature of the dies. Increase in billet temperatures can
also dramatically increase the friction (Ribeiro 1993). For a specified flow,, friction
increases die wear by increasing the loads or normal pressures on the die surface.

Thomas (Thomas 1971) shows that the increase in bulk die temperature increases the
wear (Figure 11.7). The results presented by Thomas (Thomas 1971) illustrate very well
the variation of wear in function of temperature. Thomas also found that increasing the
stock temperature reduces the wear after a critical point. The effect of stock
temperature on wear is complicated. It is the combination of competing effects of
friction, load and die tempering. Figure 11.8 illustrates this very well.

Doege (Doege 1994) found wear reduction when reducing the forging temperature form
1373 K (1100° C) to 1173 K (900° C). This is in agreement with findings of Thomas.

Figure 11-7. Effect of bulk temperature and stock temperature on wear of hammer
dies (Thomas 1971)

Forging and Heating Equipment

128
Choice of forging equipment plays a decisive role in determining life of a die. Forging
equipment – hammer, mechanical press or hydraulic press – determines the strain rates
and loads experienced material flow, forging duration and the incidental die tempering
effects. Aston’s (Aston 1969) findings presented in Figure 4.25 illustrates this effect.
Aston found that the average life of dies in hammer forging of 5 different part families
he studied, is much higher the die lives in press forged parts.

Figure 11-8. Relative die damage of five different part families when forged in a
hammer and a press (Aston 1969)

129
a)

b)

Figure 11-9. Effect of dwell time on the wear volumes observed (Rooks 1974)

130
Figure 11-10. Die wear for three different dwell times for a) H.50 dies and b) No. 5 tool
steel dies (Rooks 1974)

Presses have higher dwell times compared to hammer because of the forging speeds.
Rooks (Rooks 1974) studies also illustrate the effect of dwell times on the wear depths.
Rooks found that at lower dwell times, the wear depths were higher for lubricated dies
and lower for non-lubricated dies (Figures 13.10). Note that the trends are different for
the lubricated dies and non-lubricated dies.

By the same analogy, because of tremendous die tempering that is found in hydraulic
press forgings, die wear would be most severe when these presses are used. However, in
some applications like forging extrusions, where low speeds and long strokes are
essential to the viability of the process, hydraulic presses become a necessity.
The wear of dies on the press was about three times as great as on the hammer for the
same number of identical forgings [Blau, 1992] (Bishop 1957). However, it should be
noted that the high contact time that usually causes severe hardness loss in
martensitic steels could increase hardness in precipitation hardening steels (Nagpal
1976).
Press or forging speed also increases the velocity or forging strain rates. In hot forming,
this increases the die stresses as well as the sliding velocities. Also, as the sliding
velocity increase, the heat generation at the interface increases. Dwell time is defined as
the time that the dies and the billet are in contact under pressure.

131
Figure 11-11. Effect of scaling time on adhesive wear characteristics (Thomas 1971)

Selection of heating equipment also affects the die life in a subtle manner. Heating
duration and the presence of inert atmosphere affects the type and amount of scales
formed. Thomas found that the percentage of adherent scale drops with increase in
heating times (Figure 11.11). Figure 11.11 also shows that a heating atmosphere which
is richer in oxygen reduces the adherent scale because of higher oxidation found. This
has the same effect as increased heating times. Adherent scale increases wear by
making the descaling process less effective. Box furnace and slot furnaces increase the
heating duration, thus helping reduce the adherent scale and reducing wear. Induction
heaters, on the other hand, heat the billets fast and may produce a very thin adherent
layer of oxide that may be detrimental to the life of dies. This could however be reduced
by the use of inert atmosphere. The use of controlled atmosphere in the heating furnace
can have practical applications in hot-warm forging to reduce the oxidation rate.

The effect of furnace selection on die wear of extrusion dies is presented in Figure 11.13
(Doege, Seidel et al. 1996). It should be noted that, in extrusion, there is no de-scaling
process that results in more scales acting as abrasives. It should also be noted that
scales act as a thermal barrier between the dies and the work piece. Figure 4.31 shows
the variation of oxide thickness on the die temperature (Kellow, Bramley et al. 1969).

132
Figure 11-12: Oxide formation on 080M40 (En8) steel billets heated to 1100°C (Dean
1974).

Figure 11-13. Scale formation and adherence as function of heating time and furnace
atmosphere (Thomas 1971)

133
Figure 11-14. Effect of furnace selection on die wear of extrusion dies (Doege, Seidel
et al. 1996)

134
Figure 11-15. Effect of scale thickness on the die surface temperature (Kellow,
Bramley et al. 1969)

Die Preheating
Preheating dies help reduce the chance of gross cracking by increasing the toughness of
dies. Appendix B provides toughness information on several die steels at different
temperatures. Preheating also reduces thermal fatigue by reducing the thermal gradient
between the surface layers and the bulk of the die steel. However, by increasing the
bulk die temperature, the bulk hardness and the surface hardness of the die drops.
This results in increased die wear. Netthofel (Netthofel 1965) shows this effect in Figure
11.16. Netthofel’s results obtained from wear testing experiments explained, also
provides some insights into the effect of forging temperature on wear.

135
Figure 11-16. Effect of forging temperature on the wear depth after forging 4000
pieces (Netthofel 1965)

Die preheating also affects phase transformation at die surface. The phase transforms
from martensite-austenite during the heating followed by the transformation back to
untempered martensite (Okell and Wolstencroft 1968). The dies’ surface micrographs
shows white layer, micro cracks, and micro plastic deformation (Summerville,
Venkatesan et al. 1995; Doege, Seidel et al. 1996).

Lubrication
Graphite-water and graphite-oil are the most effective lubricants in hot die forging.
Graphite-free lubricants cause die life reduction when compared with graphite base
lubricants, specially for high sliding distances. (Doege, Seidel et al. 1996) Lubrication
decreases the friction and hence pressure as well as increases sliding. For a given
metal flow, lubrication decreases pressures and die wear. Thomas (Thomas 1971) found
that the wear in three times less for lubricated conditions. However, there are studies in
the literature that show the contrary. This is because, decreasing the friction increase
sliding, if unrestricted, thus increasing wear (Singh, Rooks et al. 1973). This
phenomena is clear from figures 13.17, 13.18 and 13.19.

136
Figure 11-17. Variation of wear pattern of the top and bottom dies with lubrication
(Singh, Rooks et al. 1973)

Figure 11-18. Variation of wear rate with lubrication (Singh, Rooks et al. 1973)

137
Figure 11-19. Variation of wear volume with die bulk temperature for lubricated and
dry forging (Singh, Rooks et al. 1973)

Forging Cycle Times


Doege (Doege, Seidel et al. 1996) found three times less wear when an additional die
cooling was applied before the conventional die lubrication. Additional cooling times,
between two blows act as additional cooling. Additional cooling times between forgings,
decrease temperatures in critical corners dramatically and help retain hardness. Long
contact time under pressure conditions, as in low speed forging or when the piece
adhere to the cavity, increases the die surface temperature and tempering effects. Both
phenomena increase wear.

138
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