The paper presents recent developments concerning the formation of surface layer in austempered ductile iron castings. It was found that the traditional methods used to change the properties of the surface layer, i.e. the effect of protective atmosphere during austenitising or shot peening, are not fully satisfactory to meet the demands of commercial applications. Therefore, new ways to shape the surface layer and the surface properties of austempered ductile iron castings are searched for, to mention only detonation spraying, carbonitriding, CVD methods, etc.
Results of a research on influence of chromium, molybdenum and aluminium on structure and selected mechanical properties of Ni-Mn-Cu cast iron in the as-cast and heat-treated conditions are presented. All raw castings showed austenitic matrix with relatively low hardness, making the material machinable. Additions of chromium and molybdenum resulted in higher inclination to hard spots. However, a small addition of aluminium slightly limited this tendency. Heat treatment consisting in soaking the castings at 500 °C for 4 h resulted in partial transformation of austenite to acicular, carbon-supersaturated ferrite, similar to the bainitic ferrite. A degree of this transformation depended not only on the nickel equivalent value (its lower value resulted in higher transformation degree), but also on concentrations of Cr and Mo (transformation degree increased with increasing total concentration of both elements). The castings with the highest hard spots degree showed the highest hardness, while hardness increase, caused by heat treatment, was the largest in the castings with the highest austenite transformation degree. Addition of Cr and Mo resulted in lower thermodynamic stability of austenite, so it appeared a favourable solution. For this reason, the castings containing the highest total amount of Cr and Mo with an addition of 0.4% Al (to reduce hard spots tendency) showed the highest tensile strength.