Abstract. This paper presents an analysis of the effect of C02 laser processing parameters on the surface modification and heat treatment of steels. The C02 laser and sample movement process parameters are presented. The controlled operation of these in conjunction with each other is required to obtain better surface hardness and structure. H13 tool steel samples were rotated at high speeds to keep exposure times below 0.3s. Laser processed samples were analysed using EDX spectroscopy, optical microscopy, Vickers and Martens micro-hardness testing, and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Results show how the hardness profile through the surface is related to the laser treatment and resultant microstructures. Increased surface hardness was noted due to a complete microstructural transformation to an amorphous state in the glazed samples. The usefulness of such coatings on tool steels, in conjunction with other thermal barriers, for the forming of semi-solid steel alloys is presented
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