Gas nitriding is proving to be a viable low temperature case hardening process for stainless steels used in numerous applications. In this study, a comparison between austenitic (grade 304) and martensitic (grade 401) stainless steels shows how pre-oxidation temperature affects the thickness and porosity of the compound layer produced as well as hardness and nitriding diffusion depth. The results indicate that austenitic stainless steel would be the best choice for a part requiring wear resistance and strength, and that a standard rolled martensitic stainless steel would suffice if only a wear resistant surface is needed.

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