Journal of Metals, Materials and Minerals

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It is known that electrochemical surface treatment can decrease the residual stresses and the hardness of the surface layer as a result of the chemomechanical effect (CME), and also to improve the ability to plastic deformation, e.g., deep drawing for high strength alloys. The present research is aimed at using CME in order to improve such technological processes as rolling, deep drawing and other processes requiring an increase in the ductility of the metal surface layer using the hardness test assisted by electrochemical polarization. The hardness measurements were carried out using a microhardness tester equipped with a special three-electrode electrochemical cell on AISI 1020, 1055 and 1070 steels. The measurements were made in air and in an electrolyte, mainly, sulfuric acid solutions. It was found that the relative hardness of the steel under polarization in sulfuric acid with molarity varied from 0.5 to 2 comparing to air amounted to 20-80% with anodic current density ranged from around 0.1 mA/cm2 to 50 mA/cm2 . The method of hardness control permits to optimize the parameters and regimes of surface treatment for different materials, where additional surface plasticity is desirable.

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