The paper presents properties of HS6-5-2 high speed steel subjected to deep cryogenic treatment (DCT) and subsequent tempering at different temperatures. DCT process of HS6-5-2 steel leads to shifting of maximum hardness peak to the lower temperature and the reduction of the obtained maximum hardness by about 1 HRC. These changes in hardness may be due to the shifting of the stage of nucleation and growth of carbide phases to lower temperatures or the changes taking place in the matrix, connected with the additional transformation of the martensite proceeding during the isothermal martensitic transformation occurring at cryogenic temperatures and more extensively occurring precipitation processes, lowering the content of the carbon in the martensite, determining thereby its lower hardness.
Deep cryogenic treatment (DCT) is gaining popularity as a treatment used to modify structures obtained during heat or thermo-chemical treatment. The article presents the influence of DCT, carried out during heat treatment before and after gas nitriding processes, on the formation of gas nitrided layers on X153CrMoV12 steel. It was found that the use of DCT between quenching and tempering performed prior to gas nitriding processes, increases the hardness, thickness and wear resistance of the nitrided layers. At the same time, if we apply cryogenic treatment during post-heat treatment of nitrided layers, we also get very high wear resistance and increased thickness of nitrided layers, in comparison with conventional gas nitriding of X153CrMoV12 steel. In this case, DCT significantly increases also the hardness of the core by the transformation of retained austenite and the precipitation of fine carbides of alloying elements.