Various kinds of stainless steels have been widely utilized as a die for mold- and direct-stamping processes of optical oxide glasses. Since they suffered from high temperature transients and thermal cycles in practice, they must be surface-treated by dry and wet coatings, or, by plasma nitriding. Martensitic stainless steel mold was first wet plated by the nickel phosphate (NiP), which was unstable at the high temperature stamping condition; and, was easy to crystalize or to fracture by itself. This issue of nuisance significantly lowered the productivity in fabrication of optical oxide-glass elements. In the present paper, the stainless steel mold was surface-treated by the low-temperature plasma nitriding. The nitrided layer by this surface modification had higher nitrogen solute content than 4 mass%; the maximum solid-solubility of nitrogen is usually 0.1 mass% in the equilibrium phase diagram. Owing to this solid-solution with high nitrogen concentration, the nitrided layer had high hardness over 1400 HV within its thickness of 50 μm without any formation of nitrides after plasma nitriding at 693 K for 14.4 ks. This plasma-nitrided mold was utilized for mold-stamping of two colored oxide glass plates at 833 K; these plates were successfully deformed and joined into a single glass plate by this stamping without adhesion or galling of oxide glasses onto the nitrided mold surface.
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