Nitriding iron at lower temperatures

Science. 2003 Jan 31;299(5607):686-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1080216.


The microstructure in the surface layer of a pure iron plate was refined at the nanometer scale by means of a surface mechanical attrition treatment that generates repetitive severe plastic deformation of the surface layer. The subsequent nitriding kinetics of the treated iron with the nanostructured surface layer were greatly enhanced, so that the nitriding temperature could be as low as 300 degrees C, which is much lower than conventional nitriding temperatures (above 500 degrees C). This enhanced processing method demonstrates the technological significance of nanomaterials in improving traditional processing techniques and provides a new approach for selective surface reactions in solids.