Effects of cryogenic cooling on surface layer alterations in machining of AISI 52100 steels

D. Umbrello, S. Yang, O. W. Dillon, I. S. Jawahir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Microstructural phase transformations, commonly known as white layer formation in hard turned steel components, have in recent times become an interesting research topic in machining as they are related to the surface integrity and functional performance of components. Three main theories have been proposed to justify the mechanisms of white layer formation: (1) rapid heating and quenching; (2) severe plastic deformation; and (3) surface reaction with the environment. Coolant application also affects the surface microstructural alterations resulting from machining operations, which have a significant influence on product performance and life. The present work aims at understanding the effects of cryogenic coolant application on the machined surface alterations during machining of hardened AISI 52100 bearing steel. Experiments were performed under dry and cryogenic cooling conditions using cubic boron nitride tool inserts with varying initial work material hardness, tool shape, cutting speed and feedrate. Optical and scanning electron microscopes (SEM) were used to analyse the affected layer in the machined subsurface, while X-ray diffraction technique was utilised to investigate the microstructural phase composition. The experimental results prove that the microstructural phase changes are heavily influenced by the cutting process parameters and the use of cryogenic cooling, in some cases leading to the total removal of martensite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1320-1331
Number of pages12
JournalMaterials Science and Technology (United Kingdom)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • AISI 52100
  • Cryogenic cooling
  • Hard machining
  • Martensitic phase transformation
  • XRD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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