A process for forming a low silicon rapid-carburizing wear resistant steel article includes selecting an article formed of a steel material having less than about 0.05% silicon by weight, and carburizing the article for a preselected time and temperature to form an austenitic surface and attain a carburized case depth which is at least 5% greater than the carburized case depth of a similar article formed from a steel material having a range of about 0.09% to about 0.25% silicon by weight and being carburized at substantially same conditions of time and temperature. After quenching, the as-carburized surface transforms into a microstructure of martensite and retained austenite, being substantially free of intergranular oxides. A low silicon rapid-carburizing wear resistant steel article formed according to the present invention is particularly useful for making gears, couplings, shafts, bearings, and similar articles subjected to a combination of high bending loads, surface wear and contact fatigue.

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