Effect of sub-zero treatment on properties of tool steels
It is widely accepted in professional community that any improvement of service life of tools reduces the tooling costs, and assists to increase the labour productivity by decreasing the needs for either the re-grinding of tools or their replacement. This requires, among others, extraction of the main mechanical properties of tool materials, by development of newer treatment routes. The current paper describes the impact of different heat treatment routes (austenitizing, sub-zero treatments, and tempering) on the main mechanical properties (hardness, flexural strength, toughness) of tool steels, which is demonstrated upon an example of Vanadis 6 steel. It is reported on improvement of hardness due to the sub-zero treatment but also on the fact that the toughness of the material cannot be inevitably deteriorated by the application of this kind of processing. Finally it is demonstrated that both these properties, despite their conflicting relationship in most cases, can be improved simultaneously when the material is treated in proper way.