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Carburizing is a process of controlled diffusion of carbon into the surface of a component, followed by quenching and tempering, with the objective of increasing the component’s surface hardness. The process is generally applicable to low carbon steels. When conducted in a “conventional”, rather than in a vacuum furnace, we can refer to the process as conventional carburizing.

In this thermal process ferrous alloys are heated to above their transformation temperature and exposed to carbon rich medium. Processing temperatures fall in the 1450°F – 1900°F (790°C – 1040°C) range. The diffusion of carbon into the part and the subsequent quench leads to a part with a hard, wear resistant surface and a tough shock resistant core.

Solid, liquid and gaseous carbon-carrying medium may be employed, however, the first two are rarely used. Nitrex-offered carburizing is conducted in computer controlled integral quench and pit gas carburizing furnaces. A full range of case depths if feasible with an economically derived limit of approximately 0.250″ (6.4 mm).

In addition, Nitrex is capable of selective carburizing where only specific areas of the part are to be treated.


Carburizing benefits include:

  • case depths up to 0.250″ (6.4 mm) are achievable,
  • ability to use inexpensive steels and still produce components with hard surface properties,
  • generally used for parts subjected to cyclical loading
  • cost effective for parts where some distortion is acceptable


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