Understanding and Measuring Decarburization
Understanding the forces behind decarburization is the first step toward minimizing its detrimental effects. Decarburization is detrimental to the wear life and fatigue life of steel heat-treated components. This article explores some factors that cause decarburization while concentrating on its measurement. In most production tests, light microscopes are used to scan the surface of a polished and etched cross-section to find what appears to be the greatest depth of total carbon loss (free ferrite depth, or FFD) and the greatest depth of combined FFD and partial loss of carbon to determine the maximum affected depth (MAD).