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Research Article

The determining role of heterogeneous microstructure in lowering yield ratio and enhancing impact toughness in high strength low alloy steel

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  • Received: 22 October 2020Revised: 29 November 2020Accepted: 2 December 2020Available online: 8 December 2020
  • Here we present a novel approach of intercritical heat treatment for microstructure tailoring, in which intercritical annealing is introduced between the conventional quenching and tempering. This induced heterogeneous microstructure consisting of soft intercritical ferrite and hard tempered martensite resulting in low yield ratio and high impact toughness in a high strength low alloy steel. The initial yielding behavior and subsequent work hardening behavior of the steel during tensile deformation were modified by the presence of soft intercritical ferrite after intercritical annealing, in comparison to the steel with full martensitic microstructure. The increase of yield ratio was related to the reduction of hardness difference between the soft and hard phases due to the precipitation of nano-carbides and the recovery of dislocations during tempering. The excellent low temperature toughness was ascribed not only to the decrease in probability of microcrack initiation for the reduction of hardness difference between two phases, but also to the increase in resistance of microcrack propagation caused by the high density of high angle grain boundaries.
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The determining role of heterogeneous microstructure in lowering yield ratio and enhancing impact toughness in high strength low alloy steel

  • Corresponding authors:

    Hui Guo    E-mail: guohui@mater.ustb.edu.cn

    Cheng-jia Shang    E-mail: cjshang@ustb.edu.cn

  • 1. Collaborative Innovation Center of Steel Technology, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
  • 2. Institute of Advanced Materials and Technology, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
  • 3. State Key Laboratory of Metal Material for Marine Equipment and Application, Anshan 114021, China

Abstract: Here we present a novel approach of intercritical heat treatment for microstructure tailoring, in which intercritical annealing is introduced between the conventional quenching and tempering. This induced heterogeneous microstructure consisting of soft intercritical ferrite and hard tempered martensite resulting in low yield ratio and high impact toughness in a high strength low alloy steel. The initial yielding behavior and subsequent work hardening behavior of the steel during tensile deformation were modified by the presence of soft intercritical ferrite after intercritical annealing, in comparison to the steel with full martensitic microstructure. The increase of yield ratio was related to the reduction of hardness difference between the soft and hard phases due to the precipitation of nano-carbides and the recovery of dislocations during tempering. The excellent low temperature toughness was ascribed not only to the decrease in probability of microcrack initiation for the reduction of hardness difference between two phases, but also to the increase in resistance of microcrack propagation caused by the high density of high angle grain boundaries.

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