The invention includes a method of producing a hard metallic material by forming a mixture containing at least 55% iron and at least one of B, C, Si and P. The mixture is formed into an alloy and cooled to form a metallic material having a hardness of greater than about 9.2 GPa. The invention includes a method of forming a wire by combining a metal strip and a powder. The strip and the powder are rolled to form a wire containing at least 55% iron and from 2-7 additional elements including at least one of C, Si and B. The invention also includes a method of forming a hardened surface on a substrate by processing a solid mass to form a powder, applying the powder to a surface to form a layer containing metallic glass, and converting the glass to a crystalline material having a nanocrystalline grain size.
 This invention was made with United States Government support under contract number DE-AC07-99ID13727, awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in the invention.