"Residual stresses and structural changes generated at different steps of the manufacturing of gears: Effect of banded structures"
Banded ferrite–pearlite structures, and in general chemically inhomogeneous structures, react non uniformly to elevated temperatures during forging and/or subsequent heat treatment processes, affecting the final stress state (plastic deformation is required to accommodate dissimilar thermal expansion behavior for each phase) and consequently leading to distortions.
These unpredicted distortions are one of the major causes of rejected components and components that need to be reworked, leading to production losses.
The aim of the present research work is to study the effect of forging and different thermal treatments (normalizing, quenching and tempering), i.e., the effect of different steps of the manufacturing of gears, on the final residual stress state, microstructure and hardness of AISI 4140 steel, a material that frequently presents ferrite–pearlite banded structures coming from segregation of alloying elements (such as chromium and carbon). With this purpose, portions of a forged AISI 4140 steel ring have been subjected to different thermal treatments. Residual stresses, hardness and microstructure after each treatment (forging, normalizing, quenching and tempering) have been studied experimentally and compared with the predictions of FEM simulations of heat treatment processes.