Nitriding is a case hardening operation that diffuses nitrogen into metal parts and components to create a strong and durable outer layer. Unlike other coatings and plating techniques, there is no risk of delaminating with nitriding as the nitrogen is actually fully alloyed or incorporated into the surface of the metal.
While steel and its alloys have long been treated through nitriding, it is gaining popularity for applications involving other metals such as cast iron, aluminum, molybdenum and titanium. Metallurgical, construction, shipping, tool and die and other high stress machining applications frequently use nitriding which is faster, more precise and more readily reproduced than many other case forming heat treatments. Cold wall and hot wall furnaces are used to heat parts and nitrogen rich gases, liquids or solids in order to enact case hardening. With either type of furnace temperature regulation is integral to the success of nitriding as it is with many other forms of heat treating. Non-uniform temperatures can lead to increased distortion and uneven stresses which could result in unpredictable product performance and even potentially hazardous mechanical failure. Uneven surface hardness, thickness and case depth may also result from inadequate temperature regulation during the nitriding process. Technological advancements allow for careful temperature monitoring of both the furnace atmosphere and the part itself to ensure the most effective treatment. Progressively more advanced, the nitriding process allows for a broad range of materials to be case hardened via the introduction and diffusion of nitrogen into the surface layers of industrial parts and components.