Microstructure and tribological response of selective laser melted AISI 316L stainless steel: the role of severe surface deformation

Vikesh Kumar, Manoj D. Joshi, Catalin Pruncu, Indrasen Singh, Santosh S. Hosmani

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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This study investigates the effect of surface mechanical attrition treatment (SMAT) (a severe surface-deformation process) on microstructure and tribological behavior of AISI 316L steel samples manufactured using the selective laser melting (SLM) technique. The specimens are built in different directions (0°, 45°, and 90°). The microstructure of annealed SLM samples shows the non-uniform distribution and random orientation of grains. It contains high-angle grain boundaries and a high density of dislocations. The average grain size is about 63, 51, and 41 μm for 0°, 45°, and 90° build direction, respectively. SMAT is beneficial for SLM steel to reduce surface roughness (by ~ 87%) and eliminate internal porosity. The deformed layer of SLM steel shows a highly dense network of slip bands, distortion of grains, and hardness gradient (up to the depth of about 600 μm). Increase in surface hardness due to SMAT is maximum (~ 54%) for the sample having 90° build direction. Typical observation of deformation-induced martensite is absent for the SMAT-processed SLM steel. Under the higher load (especially, 20 N), the tribological response of sample manufactured in the 90° direction is superior amongst the non-treated samples. Severe surface deformation enhances the wear resistance and reduces the COF of SLM steel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5170-5183
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Materials Engineering and Performance
Issue number7
Early online date12 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2021


  • surface mechanical attrition treatment (SMAT)
  • materials engineering
  • tribology
  • AISI 316L steel
  • surface-deformation processes
  • surface nanostructuring


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