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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Improved tribology of tool steel by zirconium ion implantation


AISI D3 tool steel was ion implanted with zirconium and the improvement in surface tribological properties investigated. The Zr ion implantation was done using a metal vapor vacuum arc broad-beam ion source, with a mean ion energy of 130 keV and at doses of 3.6 x 10(sup 16), 5 x 10(sup 16) and 1 x 10(sup 17) ions/cm2. Wear, friction and hardness of the implanted samples were measured and compared to the performance of unimplanted steel. The wear resistance was increased by about a factor of two, the friction remained about the same or was possibly increased by a small amount, and the hardness was improved by a factor of five or more by the ion implantation. We also investigated the effect on the Zr implantation profile of the multi-component energy distribution of the ion beam used here.

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