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Effect of the Ultrasonic Nanocrystalline Surface Modification (UNSM) on Bulk and 3D-Printed AISI H13 Tool Steels

Department of Advanced Material Engineering, Sun Moon University, 70, Sunmoon-ro 221 beon-gil, Tangjeong-myeon, Asan-si, Chungcheongnam-do 31460, Korea
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ajou University, 206 Worldcup-ro, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon 16499, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metals 2017, 7(11), 510;
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 14 November 2017 / Accepted: 17 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Properties of Bulk Nanostructured Metallic Materials)
PDF [17693 KB, uploaded 21 November 2017]


A comparative study of the microstructure, hardness, and tribological properties of two different AISI H13 tool steels—classified as the bulk with no heat treatment steel or the 3D-printed steel—was undertaken. Both samples were subjected to ultrasonic nanocrystalline surface modification (UNSM) to further enhance their mechanical properties and improve their tribological behavior. The objective of this study was to compare the mechanical properties and tribological behavior of these tool steels since steel can exhibit a wide variety of mechanical properties depending on different manufacturing processes. The surface hardness of the samples was measured using a micro-Vickers hardness tester. The hardness of the 3D-printed AISI H13 tool steel was found to be much higher than that of the bulk one. The surface morphology of the samples was characterized by electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) in order to analyze the grain size and number of fractions with respect to the misorientation angle. The results revealed that the grain size of the 3D-printed AISI H13 tool steel was less than 0.5 μm, whereas that of the bulk tool steel was greater than 4 μm. The number of fractions of the bulk tool steel was about 0.5 μm at a low misorientation angle, and it decreased gradually with increasing misorientation angle. The low-angle grain boundary (LAGB) and high-angle grain boundary (HAGB) of the bulk sample were about 21% and 79%, respectively, and those of the 3D-printed sample were about 8% and 92%, respectively. Moreover, the friction and wear behavior of the UNSM-treated AISI H13 tool steel specimen was better than those of the untreated one. This study demonstrated the capability of 3D-printed AISI H13 tool steel to exhibit excellent mechanical and tribological properties for industrial applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: AISI H13 steel; UNSM; 3D printing; hardness; grain size; wear AISI H13 steel; UNSM; 3D printing; hardness; grain size; wear

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Cho, I.-S.; Lee, C.-S.; Choi, C.-H.; Lee, H.-G.; Lee, M.G.; Jeon, Y. Effect of the Ultrasonic Nanocrystalline Surface Modification (UNSM) on Bulk and 3D-Printed AISI H13 Tool Steels. Metals 2017, 7, 510.

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