Mechanical tests have been carried out on Fe-15%Cr ferritic stainless steel with various microstructures. Ultrafine-grained microstructures with grain sizes of 0.2-0.3 m were developed by large-strain cold-working and light annealing. The effects of severe deformation on the mechanical behaviour of as-processed and recovered steel were evaluated with reference to the same material having conventional work-hardened and recrystallised microstructures. Despite the low dislocation density in the fine grain interiors in the as-processed state, the samples with strain-induced submicrocrystalline structure were characterised by high internal stresses that resulted in a higher strength than could be expected from simple grain-size strengthening. These internal stresses were associated with a non-equilibrium state of strain-induced grain boundaries after severe deformation.
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