Unprecedented strength in pure iron via high-pressure induced nanotwinned martensite

Hongwang Zhang, Yuhui Wang, Yan Peng, Pinwen Zhu, Jianhua Liu, Zongqiang Feng, Guilin Wu, Xiaoxu Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

166 Downloads (Pure)


Martensitic transformation can easily induce a maximum hardness value of 800–900 HV (Vickers hardness) for steels with carbon contents of 0.6 wt.% and above. However, the occurrence of martensitic transformation in pure iron requires exceptionally high cooling rates (105 –106 °C/s), and the maximum achievable hardness is only about 150 HV. Here we report an extreme hardness of 830 HV in pure iron obtained through high pressure induced martensitic transformation at a rather slow cooling rate of just 10°C/s. This unprecedented strength originates from the formation of twin-related martensitic laths with an average thickness of 3.8 nm.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMaterials Research Letters
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)354-360
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • high pressure
  • Martensitic transformation
  • nanotwinned martensite
  • pure iron
  • strength

Cite this