Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Northwood, Derek O.,

Second Advisor

Bowers, Randy J.


Applied sciences, Austempering, Automotive steel, Carburizing, Distortion, Residual stress



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Austempering was examined as a replacement for the current quench-and-tempering process as a method of heat treating carburized low alloy steel automotive components. Three carburizing grade steels, SAE 8620, 4320, and 8822, were carburized and heat treated by both processes. Twelve austempering and three quench-and-tempering parameters were used. The effect of heat treatment on the case and core microstructures was examined. Distortion was characterized using Navy C-ring samples, which were measured before and after the carburizing and heat treatment process. X-ray diffraction was used to measure residual stress and retained austenite. Charpy impact and Rockwell C hardness testing were performed. Austempering produced improved distortion and residual stress characteristics over quench-and-tempering, while maintaining similar or improved mechanical properties. Full data sets for distortion and mechanical properties were developed. Wear and fatigue testing are identified as necessary next steps to fully examine the viability replacing the quench-and-tempering process with austempering.