Researchers Work to Optimize Carburizing Process Parameters

Researchers Work to Optimize Carburizing Process Parameters

Heat treaters want an effective simulation tool that predicts the carburization performance of a variety of steels after carburization. At the Center for Heat Treating Excellence (CHTE) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, researchers are perfecting carbon concentration profile predictions through enhancements to CarbTool©, its simulation software.


Researchers at CHTE have been working on gas and vacuum carburizing models that can be used to optimize industrial carburizing parameter processes, eliminating much of the trial and error currently happening in the industry. This blog focuses on gas carburization. As part of the research process, CarbTool© predictions were compared with industrial experimental results of four types of steels, heat-treated by gas carburization.

CarbTool© – Carburizing Simulation Tool 

The solution algorithm used in CarbTool© is based on the finite difference method (FDM) and the code is developed using Microsoft Visual C++ in Window OS. Users can specify the carbon potential or a flux at the surface between gas and steel [1].

The output of CarbTool© is the carbon concentration profile. Users input carburization parameters, such as temperature, time and carbon potential or flux. After a quick simulation, the carbon profile along the distance below the surface can be plotted with the case depth determined, according to a user-defined value.

CarbTool© has two modules – Gas carburizing and vacuum carburizing. Gas carburization functions are listed below.

  • Variable operating temperature
  • Constant mass transfer coefficient
  • Variable carbon potential
  • Single boost-diffuse process
  • Data export of carbon profile at certain interval and final time
  • Effective case depth indication at 0.35 wt.% carbon or other user defined condition

To learn more about this process simulation tool and this gas carburization research project please refer to the detailed article that recently appeared in Industrial Heating, or email CHTE’s director, Richard Sisson at


 1. Karabelchtchikova, Fundamentals of Mass Transfer in Gas Carburizing, Ph.D. Dissertation, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2007

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