Nanocrystallization of Steels by Severe Plastic Deformation
The formation of nanocrystalline structure (NS) in steels by various severe plastic deformation processes, such as ball milling, a ball drop test, particle impact deformation and air blast shot peening are demonstrated. Layered or equiaxed nanograined region appeared near the specimen surface and dislocated cell structured region appeared interior of specimens. These regions are separated with clearly defined boundaries. The deformation induced nanograined regions have the following common specific characteristics: 1) with grains smaller than 100 nm and low dislocation density interior of grains, 2) extremely high hardness, 3) dissolution of cementite when it exist and 4) no recrystallization and slow grain growth by annealing. The deformation conditions to produce NS was discussed based on the available data in literatures. It was suggested that the most important condition is to impose a strain larger than about 7. High strain rates, low deformation temperature, multidirectional deformation, hydrostatic pressure are considered to be favorable conditions to produce NS. Introducing alloying elements, precipitates and second phase also enhance nanocrystallization by suppressing recovery. The mechanisms of the formation of sharply defined boundaries which separate nanograined structure region from dislocated cell structured region were discussed with respect to impurities, martensitic transformation and deformation. It was suggested several mechanisms may operate simultaneously in the formation of the clear boundaries.