The aim of this paper is to examine the effect of the oxide layer thickness on the absorption of IR radiation in the inert gas atmosphere. The oxide layers are created by the controlled heating method, while the different thickness of layers is achieved by changing the heat input. The tests were performed on steel EN 10083-2: C45. The absorption was measured in UV – NIR spectral region. The samples were afterward processed by HPDD laser. Firstly, the hardening was carried out in the air but the second experiment was performed with using of shielding gas fed to the interaction area. The thickness and hardness of laser hardened layer were considered. The chemical composition of an oxide layer on the surface of the sample was inspected by grazing-incidence x-ray diffraction. The difference between hardening with use of shielding gas and hardening in the air was assessed.Keywords: Laser hardening, an oxide layer, shielding gas, absorption, laser
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