Korshunov, L. G.; Chernenko, N. L.
The effect of plastic deformation that occurs in the zone of the sliding friction contact on structural transformations in the 12Kh18N9T austenitic steel subjected to subsequent 1-h oxidation in air at temperatures of 300-800°C, as well as on its wear resistance, has been studied. It has been shown that severe deformation induced by dry sliding friction produces the two-phase nanocrystalline γ + α structure in the surface layer of the steel ~10 μm thick. This structure has the microhardness of 5.2 GPa. Subsequent oxidation of steel at temperatures of 300-500°C leads to an additional increase in the microhardness of its deformed surface layer to the value of 7.0 GPa. This is due to the active saturation of the austenite and the strain-assisted martensite (α') with the oxygen atoms, which diffuse deep into the metal over the boundaries of the γ and α' nanocrystals with an increased rate. The concentration of oxygen in the surface layer of the steel and in wear products reaches 8 wt %. The atoms of the dissolved oxygen efficiently pin dislocations in the γ and α' phases, which enhances the strength and wear resistance of the surface of the 12Kh18N9T steel. The oxidation of steel at temperatures of 550-800°C under a light normal load (98 N) results in the formation of a large number of Fe3O4 (magnetite) nanoparticles, which increase the resistance of the steel to thermal softening and its wear resistance during dry sliding friction in a pair with 40Kh13 steel. Under a heavy normal load (196 N), the toughness of 12Kh18N9T steel and, therefore, the wear resistance of its surface layer decrease due to the presence of the brittle oxide phase.