The electrodeposition of FeCrNi stainless steel: microstructural changes induced by anode reactions†
The FeCrNi alloy, whose composition is close to that of stainless steel 304, was prepared by electrodeposition and characterized. Nanocrystalline FeCrNi (nc-FeCrNi) was obtained by employing a double-compartment cell where the anode is separated from the cathode compartment, while amorphous FeCrNi (a-FeCrNi) was deposited in a conventional single electrochemical cell. The carbon content of nc-FeCrNi was found to be significantly lower than that of a-FeCrNi, suggesting that carbon inclusion is responsible for the change in the microstructure. The major source of carbon is associated with the reaction compounds at the anode electrode, presumably decomposed glycine. Crystal structure analysis by XRD and TEM revealed that the as-deposited nc-FeCrNi deposits consist of α-Fe which transforms to γ-Fe upon thermal annealing. Nanoindentation tests showed that nc-FeCrNi exhibits higher hardness than a-FeCrNi, which is consistent with the inverse Hall–Petch behavior.