Abstract Austenitic 316L steel is well-known for its good resistance to corrosion and oxidation. Therefore, this material is often used wherever corrosive media or high temperatures are to be expected. The main drawback of this material is very low hardness and low resistance to mechanical wear. In this study, the laser boriding was used in order to improve the wear behavior of this material. As a consequence, a composite surface layer was produced. The microstructure of laser-borided steel was characterized by only two zones: re-melted zone and base material. In the re-melted zone, a composite microstructure, consisting of hard ceramic phases (borides) and a soft austenitic matrix, was observed. A significant increase in hardness and wear resistance of such a layer was obtained.
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