Conference Dates

October 4-9, 2015


Micro-pillar compression tests were used to study the mechanical behavior of a stainless steel that has undergone SMAT (Surface Mechanical Attrition Treatment). Micro-pillars were machined using a Focused Ion Beam (FIB) on the cross-section of a SMATed specimen at different distances from the treated surface. These micro-pillars were thus located in different areas more or less affected by the SMAT. They were then compressed with a flat head mounted on a nanoindenter to obtain loading-displacement curves. These compression tests can give information on the mechanical gradient present from the top surface down to the bulk material after SMAT: a superficial nanocrystalline layer (from 10 to 50 micrometers thick and composed of grains with a diameter ranging from 10 to 50 nm) is indeed generated as well as a transition layer (between 200 and 300 micrometers thick and characterized by a grain size gradient from the nanometer to the micrometer scale as the distance from the surface increases) just below the nanocrystalline layer. These compression tests coupled with finite element analysis (FEA) can provide precious information at the mesoscopic scale on the mechanical behavior of the different layers present in the SMATed steel. FEA was used to study the effect of experimental parameters including taper angle (the angle between the tangent of wall and the axis of pillar), aspect ratio (the ratio of height and diameter of the pillar), and misalignment between the pillar axis and the compression direction. Based on the results of FEA, the constitutive behavior in the form of stress-strain curve was identified for the different layers beneath the treated surface including the nanocrystalline layer. According to the obtained stress-strain curves, the mechanical strength of the stainless steel is significantly improved after SMAT.