The surface hardening of a number of different austenitic alloys by thermochemical treatment and their subsequent behavior to unlubricated sliding wear is described. It is shown that nitriding, nitrocarburizing (Tufftriding) and boronizing processes generally produce hard compact layers on the metal substrate and that wear behavior is related to metal composition as well as to type of chemical treatment. The results demonstrate also that the wear performance of such surface-treated austenitic materials can compare favorably with that of a commercially nitrided ferritic alloy, provided that metal core properties are not adversely affected by the processing.

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