Gradient nanostructure (GNS) has drawn great attention, owing to the unique deformation and properties that are superior to nanostructure with uniform scale. GNS is commonly fabricated via surface plastic deformation with small tips (of balls or shots) so as to produce high deformation to refine the coarse grains, but unfortunately it suffers from the deterioration of surface quality that is which is hard to guarantee the reliable service. Although there are mirror-finishing techniques that can greatly enhance the surface quality, the induced slight deformation is commonly unable to produce GNS of reasonable thickness. Here, we propose a method to fabricate a GNS surface layer with a substantially enhanced surface quality via ultra-sonic rolling treatment (USRT), namely, surface rolling with a roller vibrated at a frequency of 20,000 Hz. It is found that 4-pass USRT is able to produce 20–30 µm thick GNS on AISI 304 stainless steel pipe inner surface, wherein the surface quality is enhanced by one order of magnitude from the starting Ra = 3.92 µm to 0.19 µm. Processing by a roller with a high-frequency vibration is necessary for both good surface quality and the effective accumulation of heavy deformation on the surface. The flattening mechanism as well as the microstructural evolution from millimeter- to nanometer-scale for AISI 304 stainless steel is discussed.
- Gradient nanostructure
- AISI 304 stainless steel
- Ultra-sonic rolling treatment
- Surface quality