Surface hardening treatment can usually introduce severe grain distortion with a large gradient in the surface layer. It results in mechanical properties being difficult to accurately determine through macroscopic tests due to the non-uniformity of the shot-peened material. In this study, the mechanical behavior of uniformly pre-deformed nickel-based superalloy IN718 was investigated with monotonic tensile tests and instrumented indentation tests. For the shot-peened material, the hardness distribution of the surface hardening layer after shot peening was identified through the instrumented indentation method. According to the stress–strain results of pre-deformed materials, Ramberg–Osgood model parameters could be presented with plastic deformation. Assuming the power-law relationship between hardness and plastic deformation, the plastic deformation distribution along the depth of the surface hardening layer was clarified. Based on the results, a method to identify the stress–strain relationships of hardened material at different depths was established. Finally, the finite-element simulations of the instrumented indentation test considered residual stress and strain hardening were built to verify the method presented herein. The results show that the solution to evaluate the mechanical properties of hardening layer materials in the microscopic zone is feasible, which can provide the foundation for the failure analysis of shot-peened materials.
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