The effect of carbon, chromium and nickel on the hardness of borided layers
The variation in hardness of the phases (Fe, M)B and (Fe, M)2B (M ≡ Cr or Ni), which are the predominant components of the borided layer obtained on iron alloys, was defined and related to increase in chromium, nickel and carbon contents. It was found that chromium increases the hardness both of the borided layer as a whole and of the boride components, even though these values are systematically lower than those measured on pure borides. Carbon, which is insoluble in this type of phase, accumulates at the boride-matrix interface and, because of its modification of the boron diffusion mechanism, it indirectly increases the hardness of the borided surface. Nickel reduces slightly but systematically the hardness of the borides, in particular of the (Fe, Ni)2B phase in which it has its highest concentration.