Diffusion treatment is a thermochemical process for the modification of surfaces in which the desired element is introduced into the edge zone of the component via a temperature-driven approach. In addition to gases such as nitrogen, solids such as chromium can also be utilized. Through the chemical reaction of the elements with the base material, the material properties in the edge zone can be specifically adjusted. The focus is placed on hardness and wear resistance, but corrosion resistance and electrical conductivity are also gaining in importance.
By means of diffusion processes, various material classes from high-strength tool steel, through austenitic stainless steels, and on to non-ferrous metals such as titanium can be modified in the edge zone. Through the diffused elements, an extensive spectrum of applications is made possible. This ranges from tribological requirements such as friction-value reduction and protection against wear and corrosion on components or tools through to the improvement of the electrical conductivity. The Fraunhofer IST would be pleased to provide you with support in optimizing your edge-zone properties from laboratory through to industrial scale.
At the Fraunhofer IST, a number of plasma diffusion facilities are available which differ in terms of their size, treatment gases and process control. Thanks to their good scalability, both flat samples on a laboratory scale and finished components for industrial applications can be successfully treated.