Plasma nitriding behavior of Fe-Cr alloys has been studied at temperatures in the range of 773-873 K in order to provide basic knowledge for microstructure design of nitrided layers and to improve the wear resistance. In the nitriding temperature of 773 K, typical microstructure of nitrided layers was observed as reported elsewhere. However, anormal microstructure of nitrided layers was observed under a nitriding condition, at 873 K for 176.4 ks (49 h). In Fe-13Cr alloy, nitrided layer showed stripe-pattern, each sub-layer of which has different chromium content. Nitrided layer hardness increased gradually from the specimen surface to the nitriding front before dropping drastically to the same level as matrix hardness. The stripe-pattern was also observed for Fe-3Cr alloy at the vicinity of nitriding front for the same nitriding conditions. On the other hand, nitrided layers in Fe-8Cr and Fe-19Cr alloys are composed from different sub-layers, containing different concentration of chromium. These phenomena cannot be explained only by nitrogen diffusion process during the nitriding.
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