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Complexity Modeling of Steel-Laser-Hardened Surface Microstructures

Babič, Matej; Marinkovic, Dragan; Bonfanti, Marco; Calì, Michele

Nowadays, laser hardening is a consolidated process in many industrial sectors. One of the most interesting aspects to be considered when treating the surface-hardening process in steel materials by means of laser devices is undoubtedly the evaluation of the heat treatment quality and surface finish. In the present study, an innovative method based on fractal geometry was proposed to evaluate the quality of surface-steel-laser-hardened treatment. A suitable genetic programming study of SEM images (1280 × 950 pixels) was developed in order to predict the effect of the main laser process parameters on the microstructural geometry, assuming the microstructure of laser-hardened steel to be of a structurally complex geometrical nature. Specimens hardened by anthropomorphic laser robots were studied to determine an accurate measure of the process parameters investigated (surface temperature, laser beam velocity, laser beam impact angle). In the range of variation studied for these parameters, the genetic programming model obtained was in line with the complexity index calculated following the fractal theory. In particular, a percentage error less than 1% was calculated. Finally, a preliminary study of the surface roughness was carried out, resulting in its strong correlation with complex surface microstructures. Three-dimensional voxel maps that reproduce the surface roughness were developed by automating a routine in Python virtual environment.
Published in: Applied Sciences, 10.3390/app12052458, MDPI