Electrochemical boriding and characterization of AISI D2 tool steel

V. Sista*, O. Kahvecioglu, O. L. Eryilmaz, A. Erdemir, S. Timur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


D2 is an air-hardening tool steel and due to its high chromium content provides very good protection against wear and oxidation, especially at elevated temperatures. Boriding of D2 steel can further enhance its surface mechanical and tribological properties. Unfortunately, it has been very difficult to achieve a very dense and uniformly thick boride layers on D2 steel using traditional boriding processes. In an attempt to overcome such a deficiency, we explored the suitability and potential usefulness of electrochemical boriding for achieving thick and hard boride layers on this tool steel in a molten borax electrolyte at 850, 900, 950 and 1000 °C for durations ranging from 15 min to 1 h. The microstructural characterization and phase analysis of the resultant boride layers were performed using optical, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction methods. Our studies have confirmed that a single phase Fe2B layer or a composite layer consisting of FeB + Fe2B is feasible on the surface of D2 steel depending on the length of boriding time. The boride layers formed after shorter durations (i.e., 15 min) mainly consisted of Fe2B phase and was about 30 μm thick. The thickness of the layer formed in 60 min was about 60 μm and composed mainly of FeB and Fe2B. The cross sectional micro-hardness values of the boride layers varied between 14 and 22 GPa, depending on the phase composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1582-1588
Number of pages7
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2011


This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Industrial Technologies Program , under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357 . The electron microscopy study was accomplished at the Electron Microscopy Center for Materials Research at Argonne National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Laboratory operated under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357 by UChicago Argonne, LLC. They would also like to thank the X-ray diffraction study which was carried out in part in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory Central Facilities, University of Illinois. The authors would like to thank Gerald Jeka for helping in sample preparation.

FundersFunder number
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Argonne National Laboratory


    • Boriding
    • CrB
    • D2 steel
    • FeB
    • FeB
    • Molten salt electrolysis


    Dive into the research topics of 'Electrochemical boriding and characterization of AISI D2 tool steel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this