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Microstructural Response of High Aluminum Steels to Quenching and Partitioning Treatment

[+] Author Affiliations
Tuomo Nyyssönen, Veli-Tapani Kuokkala

Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland

Mahesh Somani

University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

Pasi Peura

Ruukki Metals Oy, Hämeenlinna, Finland

Paper No. IMECE2013-63735, pp. V02AT02A041; 10 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2A: Advanced Manufacturing
  • San Diego, California, USA, November 15–21, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5618-5
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Quenching and Partitioning (Q&P) is a novel heat treatment process that is able to produce steels with a microstructure consisting of controlled amounts of finely divided retained austenite in a martensitic or ferritic-martensitic matrix. Following quenching to a temperature in the Ms-Mf range, the steel is subjected to partitioning treatment that concerns the diffusion of carbon atoms from supersaturated martensite phase to the austenite phase, resulting in the possibility of stabilizing it down to room temperature. Competing reactions such as cementite and/or transition carbide precipitation must be suppressed by suitably alloying with certain elements, conventionally silicon. In this study, aluminum was used as the main precipitation suppressor. Three Nb-microalloyed experimental steels with aluminum at different levels in the range 2–3%, with or without additions of Si, Ni and Cu were subjected to Q&P treatments. The microstructures and phase compositions of the quenched and partitioned steels were characterized with optical and scanning electron microscopy combined with EBSD phase mapping and X-ray diffraction measurements. The mechanical properties of the steels were studied with microhardness and tensile testing. The preliminary experiments suggest that aluminum-bearing steels can retain significant amounts of austenite after partitioning in a ferritic-martensitic microstructure. Promising strength-ductility ratios were also found in tensile testing. Based on the encouraging results, future work will be directed to produce microstructures with higher martensite fractions to impart higher strengths in steels combined with good ductility and formability.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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