Formation of Bainite in Steels
Sammanfattning: A systematic survey of morphology of bainite and proeutectoid ferrite was carried out in order to validate some old thoughts of bainite transformation mechanism. It is confirmed that there is no morphological evidence supporting a sharp change neither between Widmanstätten ferrite and the ferritic component of upper bainite, nor between upper and lower bainite. Both Widmanstätten ferrite and upper bainite start with precipitation of ferrite plates at a grain boundary while lower bainite starts with intragranular nucleation. In case of grain boundary nucleation, a group of parallel plates with same crystallographic orientation to the parent austenite grain forms. This process is followed by a second stage of decomposition of the austenitic interspace, which remained in between the primary ferrite plates. At high temperature, the austenitic interspace would either retain as thin slabs or transform into pearlite through a nodule originated from a grain boundary. At lower temperature, cementite precipitation starts to be possible and initiates simultaneous growth of ferrite. Generally, there are two modes of such eutectoid reactions operating in the second stage, i.e. a degenerate and a cooperative mode, which would lead to typical upper and lower bainite, respectively, in definition of carbides morphology. Both upper and lower bainite according to this definition are observed in a wide temperature range. A sharp temperature between the upper and lower bainite structures thus exists only when the definition is based on their nucleation sites, i.e. grain boundary nucleation for upper bainite and intragranular nucleation for lower bainite. Supposing that the first stage is a diffusionless process it should have a high growth rate to prevent carbon diffusion. This is not supported by lengthening rate obtained in current study as well as data from literature for Fe-C alloys. Finally, it is shown that the “subunits” play no role in the lengthening process of bainite.
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