Electron work function (EWF) is correlated to intrinsic properties of metallic materials and can be an alternative parameter to obtain supplementary clues for guiding material design and modification. A higher EWF corresponds to a more stable electronic state, leading to higher resistance to any attempt to change the material structure and properties. In this study, effects of Ni as a solute with a higher EWF on mechanical, electrochemical, and tribological properties of low-carbon steel were investigated. Added Ni, which has more valence electrons, enhanced the electrons-nuclei interaction in the steel, corresponding to higher EWF. As a result, the Ni-added steel showed increased mechanical strength and corrosion resistance, resulting in higher resistances to wear and corrosive wear. Mechanism for the improvements is elucidated through analyzing EWF-related variations in Young’s modulus, hardness, corrosion potential, and tribological behavior.
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 24, 2018
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