Tool steel for tool holder applications microstructure and mechanical properties
Abstract: Large improvements in cutting tool design and technology, including the application of advanced surface engineering treatments on the cemented carbide insert, have been achieved in the last decades to enhance tool performance. However, the problem of improving the tool body material is not adequately studied.Fatigue is the most common failure mechanism in cutting tool bodies. Rotating tools, tool going in and out of cutting engagement, impose dynamic stresses and require adequate fatigue strength of the tool. Working temperatures of milling cutter bodies in the insert pocket can reach up to 600°C depending on the cutting conditions and material of the workpiece. As a result, steel for this application shall have good hot properties such as high temper resistance and high hot hardness values to avoid plastic deformation in the insert pocket of the cutting tool. Machinability of the steel is also essential, as machining of steel represents a large fraction of the production cost of a milling cutter.This thesis focus on the improvement of the cutting tool performance by the use of steel grades for tool bodies with optimized combination of fatigue strength, machinability and properties at elevated temperatures.The first step was to indentify the certain limit of the sulphur addition for improved machinability which is allowable without reducing the fatigue strength of the milling cutter body below an acceptable level. The combined effect of inclusions, surface condition and geometrical stress concentrator on the fatigue life of the tool steel in smooth specimens and in tool components were studied in bending fatigue.As the fatigue performance of the tools to a large extent depends on the stress relaxation resistance at elevated temperature use, the second step in this research was to investigate the stress relaxation of the commonly used milling cutter body materials and a newly steel developed within the project. Compressive residual stresses were induced by shot peening and their response to mechanical and thermal loading as well as the material substructures and their dislocation characteristics were studied using X-ray diffraction.Softening resistance of two hot work tool steels and a newly developed steel was investigated during high temperature hold times and isothermal fatigue and discussed of with respect to their microstructure. Carbide morphology and precipitation as well as dislocation structure were determined using transmission electron microscopy and X-ray line broadening analysis.
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