Improving the surface characterisics of Ti-6Al-4V and Timetal 834 using PIRAC nitriding treatments

Allan Matthews, B Attard, A Leyland, E Y Gutmanas, I Gotman, G Cassar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Despite the popularity of a number of techniques of thermochemical diffusion for titanium, in many cases the surface engineering processes used may not be economically viable options for industry. This work focuses on the application of Powder Immersion Reaction Assisted Coating (PIRAC), a relatively inexpensive nitriding treatment that can provide a remarkable improvement in the surface characteristics of titanium alloys. The aim of this work was to determine whether PIRAC could be successfully applied to Ti-6Al-4V and the high-performance
    near-α titanium alloy Timetal 834. In order to study the response of these materials to PIRAC nitriding, techniques such as X-ray diffraction, micro-indentation hardness, surface profilometry, optical and electron microscopy, nano-scratch adhesion testing and ball-on-plate reciprocating-sliding wear testing were employed. These techniques highlighted the markedly different response between the two alloys to the PIRAC treatment; namely, that Ti-6Al-4V forms a thick compound layer, while at the same processing temperature and time Timetal834 does not form any appreciable Ti2N phase instead forming a nitrogen-diffusion case with a thin TiN compound layer at the surface. This inherent difference in nitridability influences the metallurgical response of
    each alloy. Despite this, the surfaces of both alloys were still hardened considerably and their tribological performance in dry sliding conditions improved compared to the untreated alloys.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)208-223
    Number of pages16
    JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
    Early online date31 Jan 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2018


    • PIRAC
    • Ti-6Al-4V
    • Timetal834
    • Nitriding
    • diffusion
    • Tribology


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