Homogeneous and heterogeneous micro-structuring of austenitic stainless steels by the low temperature plasma nitriding

T. Aizawa, S. I. Yoshihara

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The austenitic stainless steels have been widely utilized as a structural component and member as well as a die and mold substrate for stamping. AISI316 dies and molds require for the surface treatment to accommodate the sufficient hardness and wear resistance to them. In addition, the candidate treatment methods must be free from toxicity, energy consumption and inefficiency. The low temperature plasma nitriding process has become one of the most promising methods to make solid-solution hardening by the nitrogen super-saturation. In the present paper, the high density RF/DC plasma nitriding process was applied to form the uniform nitrided layer in the AISI316 matrix and to describe the essential mechanism of inner nitriding in this low temperature nitriding process. In case of the nitrided AISI316 at 673 K for 14.4ks, the nitrided layer thickness became 60 μm with the surface hardness of 1700 HV and the surface nitrogen content of 7 mass %. This inner nitriding process is governed by the synergetic interrelation among the nitrogen super-saturation, the lattice expansion, the phase transformation, the plastic straining, the microstructure refinement and the acceleration of nitrogen diffusion. As far as this interrelation is sustained during the nitriding process, the original austenitic microstructure is homogeneously nitrided to have fine grains with the average size of 0.1 μm and the high crystallographic misorientation angles and to have two phase (γ + α') structures with the plateau of nitrogen content by 5 mass%. Once this interrelation does not work anymore, the homogeneous microstructure changed itself to the heterogeneous one. The plastic straining took place in the selected coarse grains; they were partially refined into subgrains. This plastic localization accompanied the localized phase transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012049
JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 12
Event2018 International Conference on Material Strength and Applied Mechanics, MSAM 2018 - Kitakyushu City, Japan
Duration: 2018 Apr 102018 Apr 13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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