Wear failures of components often occur and cause great economic losses in modern industry production. To obtain excellent wear resistance surface will help reduce the abrasion. Herein, a wear-resistant iron-based alloy coating was deposited on a low-carbon steel substrate by argon arc overlaying, and sequentially surface nanocrystallized through ultrasonic impact treatment (UIT). Micro-structural, mechanical property (including nanohardness and elastic modulus) and wear behavior changes of the coating before and after UIT were experimentally investigated. In addition, the wear mechanism variation owing to the application of UIT was discussed. The results show that a highly deformed nanocrystalline layer with an average grain size in the range of ~100 nm was generated at a depth of approximately 34 μm from the treated coating surface, which contains a certain amount of the deformation-induced α’-martensite phase. Compared with the as-deposited coating, the coating after UIT processing exhibits considerable improvements in the ratio of nanohardness (H
) to elastic modulus (E
) and better wear resistance under the same wear test conditions. The wear mechanism has also changed from the adhesive type of the as-deposited coating to an abrasive type on the introduction of a nanocrystalline microstructure.
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