EFFECT OF THE HEAT TREATMENT ON THE MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF A PRECIPITATION HARDENING STEEL FOR LARGE PLASTIC MOLDS

  • D. Firrao
  • P. Matteis
  • G. M. M. Mortarino
  • P. Russo Spena
  • M. G. Ienco
  • G. Pellati
  • M. R. Pinasco
  • R. Gerosa
  • G. Silva
  • B. Rivolta
  • M. E. Tata
  • R. Montanari

Abstract

Continuously growing activity in the area of the engineering plastics led to the necessity of developing
new low-cost, high-performance plastic mold steels. In fact, when it is necessary to fabricate large plastic
components, such as bumpers and dashboards for motor vehicles, the traditionally adopted ISO 1.2738 plastic
mold steel exhibits low fracture toughness and highly inhomogeneous microstructures (continuously varying
from surface to core), as obtained from the pre-hardening (quenching and tempering) of large blooms. New
alloys and alternative manufacturing routes may allow to obtain plastic injection molds with good mechanical,
wear and weldability properties. Precipitation hardening tool steels are being proposed for such an application,
yielding improved mechanical properties and lower overall costs and lead-time. A precipitation hardenable
steel, developed for injection molding of large engineering polymer components, was investigated.
The microstructures and the mechanical properties of the precipitation hardenable steel bloom were
investigated after the steelwork heat treatment. Moreover, the strengthening mechanism by means of aging
heat treatments was examined on samples subjected either to the steelwork heat treatment only, or also to a
successive laboratory heat treatment. To the purpose, X-rays diffraction and EDS analyses were carried out in
order to indentify second phases electrochemically extracted from aged and not aged samples

Published
2009-04-25
Section
Memorie