Influence of microstructure on fatigue and ductility properties of tool steels
Sammanfattning: Fatigue and ductility properties in various tool steels, produced by powder metallurgy, spray forming or conventionally ingot casting, have been analysed experimentally and successfully compared to developed models. The models are able to predict the fatigue limit and cause for fatigue fracture, and strain- and stress-development until fracture during the ductile fracture process respectively. Total fracture in a tool steel component, both in fatigue and ductility testing, is caused by a propagating crack initiated by particles, i.e. carbides or non-metallic inclusions. The models are based on experimentally observed size distributions.The axial fatigue strength at two million cycles was determined for various tool steels. The fracture surface of each test bar broken was examined in SEM to determine the cause for fatigue failure, i.e. a single carbide or inclusion particle or a cluster of carbides, and the size of the particle. The particles act as stress concentrators where a crack is easily initiated when the material is subjected to alternating stresses. The developed models calculate the probability that at least one particle will be present in the material which is larger than the threshold level for crack initiation at a certain stress range.The ductility testing was performed on various tool steels by four-point bending under static load. The load and displacement until total fracture were recorded and the maximum strain and stress acting in the material were calculated. The fracture surface of each broken test bar was examined in SEM, though the crack initiating area appears different compared to a fatigue failure. Ductile fracture is caused by a crack emanating from voids nucleated around many particles in a joint process and then linked together. By finite element modelling of void initiation and propagation in 2D of an experimentally observed carbide microstructure for each tool steel, successful comparisons with experiments were performed. Carbides were modelled as cracked when larger than a certain size, based on fracture surface observations, and the matrix cracked above a pre-defined plastic deformation level. The stresses and strains at total failure were in good agreement between model and experiments when evaluated.The use of these developed models could be a powerful tool for optimisation of fatigue and ductility properties for tool steels. With good fatigue and ductility properties normal failures appearing during operation of a tool steel product could be minimised. By theoretical tests in the developed models of various carbide microstructures the optimum mechanical properties could be achieved with a minimum of experiments performed.
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