Low Temperature Austenite Decomposition in Carbon Steels
Sammanfattning: Martensitic steels have become very important engineering materials in modern society. Crucial parts of everyday products are made of martensitic steels, from surgical needles and razor blades to car components and large-scale excavators. Martensite, which results from a rapid diffusionless phase transformation, has a complex nature that is challenging to characterize and to classify. Moreover the possibilities for modeling of this phase transformation have been limited, since its thermodynamics and kinetics are only reasonably well understood. However, the recent development of characterization capabilities and computational techniques, such as CALPHAD, and its applicability to ferrous martensite has not been fully explored yet.In the present work, a thermodynamic method for predicting the martensite start temperature (Ms) of commercial steels is developed. It is based mainly on information on Ms from binary Fe-X systems obtained from experiments using very rapid cooling, and Ms values for lath and plate martensite are treated separately. Comparison with the experimental Ms of several sets of commercial steels indicates that the predictive ability is comparable to models based on experimental information of Ms from commercial steels.A major part of the present work is dedicated to the effect of carbon content on the morphological transition from lath- to plate martensite in steels. A range of metallographic techniques were employed: (1) Optical microscopy to study the apparent morphology; (2) Transmission electron microscopy to study high-carbon plate martensite; (3) Electron backscattered diffraction to study the variant pairing tendency of martensite. The results indicate that a good understanding of the martensitic microstructure can be achieved by combining qualitative metallography with quantitative analysis, such as variant pairing analysis. This type of characterization methodology could easily be extended to any alloying system and may thus facilitate martensite characterization in general.Finally, a minor part addresses inverse bainite, which may form in high-carbon alloys. Its coupling to regular bainite is discussed on the basis of symmetry in the Fe-C phase diagram.
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