Influence of initial quenching on the microstructure and mechanical properties of quenched and partitioned ferritic stainless steels

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Abstract

Modern steel industry has great interest in developing new advanced high-strength steels, especially for the automotive industry. The need for stronger and more ductile sheet steels has led to development of novel heat treatments such as quenching and partitioning. The Q&P heat treatment provides an opportunity of manufacturing strong steels without sacrificing their formability. However, there is limited research conducted on the microstructure evolution of many alloys potential for Q&P such as stainless steels.

This study evaluates the selection for the optimal quench interruption temperature during Q&P of ferritic stainless steels. The paper compares different simulation models for optimizing the Q&P-process. Q&P was applied to two AISI 420-type stainless steels EN 1.4021 and EN 1.4034 to assess the simulation results. Microstructure analyses with X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy revealed that simulated values overestimate the retained austenite fractions after Q&P due to formation of Cr-rich carbides. Mechanical tests showed that Q&P is applicable to grade EN 1.4021 stainless steel, whereas EN 1.4034 fractured in a brittle manner under tensile load. Electron microscopy revealed intergranular fracture type and concentration of Cr-rich carbides at parent austenite grain boundaries in EN 1.4034. These results suggest that impurities may expose stainless steels to temper embrittlement during partition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143339
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering A
Volume847
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Q&P
  • Ferritic stainless steels
  • Retained austenite

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

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