Microstructure and Inclusion Characteristics in Steels with Ti-oxide and TiN Additions
Sammanfattning: Non-metallic inclusions in steels are generally considered to be detrimental for mechanical properties. However, it has been recognized that certain inclusions, such as Ti-oxide and TiN, can serve as potent nucleation sites for the formation of intragranular ferrite (IGF) in low-alloy steels. The formation of IGF could improve the toughness of the coarse grained heat affected zone (CGHAZ) of weld metals. Thus, the present thesis mainly focuses on the effect of size of nucleation sites on the IGF formation. Quantitative studies on the composition, size distribution and nucleation probability for each size of the inclusions as well as the area fraction, starting temperature and morphology of an IGF have been carried out.In the present work, the Ti-oxide and TiN powders were mixed with metallic powders. The mixed powders were heated up to the liquid state and cooled with a slow cooling rate of 3.6 ºC/min. These as-cast steels with Ti-oxide and TiN additions were used to simulate the IGF formation in the CGHAZ of weld metals. Specifically, the inclusion and microstructure characteristics in as-cast steels have been investigated. The results show that the nucleant inclusion was identified as a TiOx+MnS phase in steels with Ti2O3 additions and as a TiN+Mn-Al-Si-Ti-O+MnS phase in steels with TiN additions. In addition, the TiOx and TiN phases are detected to be the effective nucleation sites for IGF formation. It is clearly shown that an increased inclusion size leads to an increased probability of IGF nucleation. This probability of IGF nucleation for each inclusion size of the TiOx+MnS inclusions is clearly higher than that of the complex TiN+Mn-Al-Si-Ti-O+MnS inclusions. In addition, the area fraction of IGF in the steels with Ti2O3 additions is larger than that of the steels with TiN additions. This result agrees with the predicted tendency of the probability of IGF nucleation for each inclusion size in the steels with Ti2O3 and TiN additions.In order to predict the effective inclusion size for IGF formation, the critical diameters of the TiO, TiN and VN inclusions, which acted as the nucleation sites of IGF formation, were also calculated based on the classical nucleation theory. The critical diameters of TiO, TiN and VN inclusions for IGF formation were found to be 0.192, 0.355 and 0.810 ?m in the present steels. The calculation results were found to be in agreement with the experiment data of an effective inclusion size. Moreover, the effects of the S, Mn and C contents on the critical diameters of inclusions were also calculated. It was found that the critical diameter of the TiO, TiN and VN inclusions increases with an increased content of Mn or C. However, the S content doesn’t have a direct effect on the critical diameter of the inclusions for IGF formation. The probability of IGF nucleation for each inclusion size slightly decreases in the steel containing a higher S content. This fact is due to that an increased amount of MnS precipitation covers the nucleant inclusion surface.In the as-cast experiment, it was noted that an IGF can be formed in steels with Ti2O3 and TiN additions with a cooling rate of 3.6 ºC/min. In order to control the microstructure characteristics, such as the area fraction and the morphology of an IGF, and to investigate the starting temperature of IGF and grain boundary ferrite (GBF) formation, the dynamic transformation behavior of IGF and GBF was studied in-situ by a high temperature confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM). Furthermore, the chemical compositions of the inclusions and the morphology of IGF after the in-situ observations were investigated by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) which equipped wavelength dispersive spectrometer (WDS). The results show that the area fraction of IGF is larger in the steels with Ti2O3 additions compared to the steels with TiN additions, after the same thermal cycle has been imposed. This is due to that the TiOx phase provides more potent nucleation sites for IGF than the TiN phase does. Also, the area fraction of IGF in the steels is highest after at an intermediate cooling rate of 70 ºC/min, since the competing phase transformations are avoided. This fact has been detected by using a hybrid methodology in combination with CLSM and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). In addition, it is noted that the morphology of an IGF is refined with an increased cooling rate.
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