Surface hardening of metals at room temperature by nanoparticle-laden cavitating waterjets

Xingliang He, Miao Song, Yao Du, Yi Shi, Blake A. Johnson, Kornel F. Ehmann, Yip Wah Chung*, Q. Jane Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Reported in this paper is a novel and facile room-temperature surface-hardening technique, capable of providing five-fold increase in the hardness of an aluminum alloy, by utilizing a cavitating waterjet laden with hard nanoparticles. Microstructural and composition analyses reveal several mechanisms responsible for surface hardening: strain hardening, grain refinement, and dispersion strengthening. The hardened alloy surface also exhibits about 50% reduction in friction in a series of microscale friction measurements. Without the need to treat the alloy at elevated temperatures, this technique obviates such problems as additional energy usage, part distortion, microstructural and composition changes, and thermal shock-induced cracking. Equally important, this new method could be further tailored to impart metals, polymers, composites, etc. with different surface functional properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116316
JournalJournal of Materials Processing Technology
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Cavitation
  • Low-temperature processing
  • Oxide dispersion strengthening
  • Surface hardening
  • Waterjet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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