The demand for high-strength components for commercial vehicles has recently increased. Conventional gas nitrocarburizing has been used to increase strength and productivity of the crankshaft. A potential-controlled nitriding process was recently developed to control the crystal structure of the nitride compound layer. It has been found that this treatment improves the bending fatigue strength compared with conventional treatment, and has the potential to cope with the increase in crankshaft strength. However, the effect of torsional fatigue strength has not been studied. Therefore, in this study, the influence of the crystal structure of the nitride compound layer on torsional fatigue strength was investigated. Two kinds of test specimens with different crystal structures of the compound layer were prepared using gas nitriding treatment with controlled nitriding potential for an alloy steel bar (JIS-SCM435). Torsional fatigue tests were carried out using these test specimens. Although the compound layer of these test specimens had different crystal structures, the hardness distribution and residual stress distribution on the diffusion layer were almost the same. The relationship between stress amplitude and number of cycles to failure (S-N curve) showed that the torsional fatigue limits of the specimens were almost the same. This indicates that the crystal structure of the nitride compound layer did not affect the torsional fatigue limits, because the origin of the torsional fatigue failure is inside the specimen.
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