Surprises of optical metallurgy
Scientists at the A. Baikov Institute of Metallurgy Russia Academy of Sciences, have studied the effect of plasma formation – heating gas with a laser beam to a temperature of tens of thousands of degrees.
There are three openings in a massive steel chamber designed to withstand a pressure of up to 200 atmospheres.
One is intended to let through the beam of a quantum laser generator, another makes it possible to film at high speed the process taking place within the chamber, and the third lights “up” the plasma for the spectrometer. Before the experiment starts, the target – a metal plate – is installed inside the chamber. Nitrogen is let into the chamber through a pipe from a high pressure cylinder. Under the action of the laser beam a chemical reaction occurs between the nitrogen and the metal the target and forms the hard armour of nitride. And if nitrogen is replaced with carbonic acid or methane, carbide is formed on the surface of the target as a result of the reaction.
In the course of experiments researchers have established that just one high energy laser pulse can form nitride or carbide on the metallic surface of the target, depending on the surrounding medium.
The nitrides and carbides of metals possess a very high degree of strength and heat resistance. That is why they have attracted the attention of specialists in industry.
Scientists in metallurgy and specialists of production carry out joint work on using new technology to strengthen the parts of machines and mechanisms.
In particular, new methods are being developed to strengthen the rings of drilling installations, the main parts of tractors and agricultural machines and instruments.