The Impact of Pulse Plasma Treatment on the Operating Characteristics of Steel 40X10C2M: Experiment and Numerical Simulations
This paper presents a study of operating characteristics of steel 40X10C2M after treatment it of high-energy plasma pulses. The steel is used to manufacture the elements of ships' power plants. For pulsed plasma treatment of steel samples, we used an electrothermal plasma accelerator (ETPA). A high-current pulsed high-pressure arc discharge was initiated in a restricted dielectric chamber of ETPA. The discharge duration was 1.4 ms, the maximum current reached the value of 5 kA, the discharge voltage was up to 5 kV. We investigated the microhardness and microstructure of the processed (modified) layer and determined the optimal parameters of steel processing that provide the best characteristics of the modified layer when the microhardness increases by ≈ 5 times. Microhardness maxima were discovered in the depth of the modified layer. The paper studies the possibilities of controlling the maxima localization to form the desired performance characteristics of the treated layer. Mathematical modeling of rapid pulsed heating of the steel surface layer is performed within the framework of the two-phase "melt-solid" model, taking into account the dynamics of the thermodynamic characteristics of steel. For this purpose, we used the classical equation of thermal conductivity with varying steel parameters: density, heat capacity, and coefficient of thermal conductivity during the transition of a substance from the liquid to the solid phase. Within the chosen mathematical model, numerical calculations of the rapidly pulsed heating phenomenon of the steel surface were performed, taking into account melting and solidification in the Comsol Multiphysics package using the finite element method. The numerical simulation results are in good agreement with the experimental distribution of the microhardness of the treated steel layer deep into the sample.
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