This paper presents a design of experiment (DOE) for laser surface modification process of AISI H13 tool steel in achieving the maximum hardness and minimum surface roughness at a range of modified layer depth. A Rofin DC‐015 diffusion‐cooled CO2 slab laser was used to process AISI H13 tool steel samples. Samples of 10 mm diameter were sectioned to 100 mm length in order to process a predefined circumferential area. The parameters selected for examination were laser peak power, overlap percentage and pulse repetition frequency (PRF). The response surface method with Box‐Behnken design approach in Design Expert 7 software was used to design the H13 laser surface modification process. Metallographic study and image analysis were done to measure the modified layer depth. The modified surface roughness was measured using two‐dimensional surface profilometer. The correlation of the three laser processing parameters and the modified surface properties was specified by plotting three‐dimensional graph. The hardness properties were tested at 981 mN force. From metallographic study, the laser modified surface depth was between 37 μm and 150 μm. The average surface roughness recorded from the 2D profilometry was at a minimum value of 1.8 μm. The maximum hardness achieved was between 728 and 905 HV0.1. These findings are significant to modern development of hard coatings for wear resistant applications.

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