The influence of processing temperatures on the surface characteristics of AISI 204Cu austenitic stainless steel was investigated during a low temperature plasma nitrocarburizing. The resultant layer was a dual-layer structure, which comprises a N-enriched layer on the top of C-enriched layer. The surface hardness and the layer thickness increase up to about HV0.051000 and 20 μm with increasing temperature. The specimen treated at 400 °C shows a much enhanced corrosion resistance compared to the untreated steel. A loss in corrosion resistance was observed for specimens treated at temperatures above 430 °C due to the formation of Cr2N. © 2012 The Nonferrous Metals Society of China.
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