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The influences of hydrogen on the mechanical properties and the fracture behaviour of Fe–22Mn–0.6C twinning induced plasticity steel have been investigated by slow strain rate tests and fractographic analysis. The steel showed high susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement, which led to 62.9% and 74.2% reduction in engineering strain with 3.1 and 14.4 ppm diffusive hydrogen, respectively. The fracture surfaces revealed a transition from ductile to brittle dominated fracture modes with the rising hydrogen contents. The underlying deformation and fracture mechanisms were further exploited by examining the hydrogen effects on the dislocation substructure, stacking fault probability, and twinning behaviour in pre-strained slow strain rate test specimens and notched tensile specimens using coupled electron channelling contrast imaging and electron backscatter diffraction techniques. The results reveal that the addition of hydrogen promotes planar dislocation structures, earlier nucleation of stacking faults, and deformation twinning within those grains which have tensile axis orientations close to <111>//rolling direction and <112>//rolling direction. The developed twin lamellae result in strain localization and micro-voids at grain boundaries and eventually lead to grain boundary decohesion.
Medium-Mn steels have attracted immense attention for automotive applications owing to their outstanding combination of high strength and superior ductility. This steel class is generally characterized by an ultrafine-grained duplex microstructure consisting of ferrite and a large amount of austenite. Such a unique microstructure is processed by intercritical annealing, where austenite reversion occurs in a fine martensitic matrix. In the present study, austenite reversion in a medium-Mn alloy was simulated by the multiphase-field approach using the commercial software MICRESS® coupled with the thermodynamic database TCFE8 and the kinetic database MOBFE2. In particular, a faceted anisotropy model was incorporated to replicate the lamellar morphology of reversed austenite. The simulated microstructural morphology and phase transformation kinetics (indicated by the amount of phase) concurred well with experimental observations by scanning electron microscopy and in situ synchrotron high-energy X-ray diffraction, respectively.
Nanoindentation is an attractive characterization technique, as it not only measures the local properties of a material but also facilitates understanding of deformation mechanisms at submicron scales. However, because of the complex stress–strain field and the small scale of the deformation under the nanoindenter, the results can be easily influenced by artifacts induced during sample preparation. In this work, a systematic study was conducted to better understand the influence of sample preparation methods on the nanoindentation results of ductile metals. All experiments were conducted on a steel (Fe–22Mn–0.65C, wt%) with twinning-induced plasticity (TWIP), which was selected for its large grain size and sensitivity to different surface preparation methods. By grouping the results obtained from each nanoindent, chemical polishing was found to be the best sample preparation method with respect to the resulting mechanical properties of the material. In contrast, the presence of a deformation layer left by mechanical polishing and surface damage induced by focused ion beam (FIB) scanning were confirmed by the dislocation-nucleation-induced pop-in events of nanoindentation.
The mechanism of oxide inclusions in fatigue crack initiation in the very-high cycle fatigue (VHCF) regime was clarified by subjecting bearing steels deoxidized by Al (Al-deoxidized steel) and Si (Si-deoxidized steel) to ultrasonic tension–compression fatigue tests (stress ratio, R = −1) and analyzing the characteristics of the detected inclusions. Results show that the main types of inclusions in Si- and Al-deoxidized steels are silicate and calcium aluminate, respectively. The content of calcium aluminate inclusions larger than 15 μm in Si-deoxidized steel is lower than that in Al-deoxidized steel, and the difference observed may be attributed to different inclusion generation processes during melting. Despite differences in their cleanliness and total oxygen contents, the Si- and Al-deoxidized steels show similar VHCF lives. The factors causing fatigue failure in these steels reveal distinct differences. Calcium aluminate inclusions are responsible for the cracks in Al-deoxidized steel. By comparison, most fatigue cracks in Si-deoxidized steel are triggered by the inhomogeneity of a steel matrix, which indicates that the damage mechanisms of the steel matrix can be a critical issue for this type of steel. A minor portion of the cracks in Si-deoxidized steel could be attributed to different types of inclusions. The mechanisms of fatigue fracture caused by calcium aluminate and silicate inclusions were further analyzed. Calcium aluminate inclusions first separate from the steel matrix and then trigger crack generation. Silicate inclusions and the steel matrix are closely combined in a fatigue process; thus, these inclusions have mild effects on the fatigue life of bearing steels. Si/Mn deoxidation is an effective method to produce high-quality bearing steel with a long fatigue life and good liquid steel fluidity.
This study aims to discover the stress-state dependence of the dynamic strain aging (DSA) effect on the deformation and fracture behavior of high-strength dual-phase (DP) steel at different deformation temperatures (25–400°C) and reveal the damage mechanisms under these various configurations. To achieve different stress states, predesigned specimens with different geometric features were used. Scanning electron microscopy was applied to analyze the fracture modes (e.g., dimple or shear mode) and underlying damage mechanism of the investigated material. DSA is present in this DP steel, showing the Portevin–Le Chatelier (PLC) effect with serrated flow behavior, thermal hardening, and blue brittleness phenomena. Results show that the stress state contributes distinctly to the DSA effect in terms of the magnitude of thermal hardening and the pattern of blue brittleness. Either low stress triaxiality or Lode angle parameter promotes DSA-induced blue brittleness. Accordingly, the damage mechanisms also show dependence on the stress states in conjunction with the DSA effect.
Here we present a novel approach of intercritical heat treatment for microstructure tailoring, in which intercritical annealing is introduced between conventional quenching and tempering. This induced a heterogeneous microstructure consisting of soft intercritical ferrite and hard tempered martensite, resulting in a low yield ratio (YR) and high impact toughness in a high-strength low-alloy steel. The initial yielding 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 in YR was related to the reduction in 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.
Effects of the weld microstructure and inclusions on brittle fracture initiation are investigated in a thermally aged ferritic high-nickel weld of a reactor pressure vessel head from a decommissioned nuclear power plant. As-welded and reheated regions mainly consist of acicular and polygonal ferrite, respectively. Fractographic examination of Charpy V-notch impact toughness specimens reveals large inclusions (0.5–2.5 μm) at the brittle fracture primary initiation sites. High impact energies were measured for the specimens in which brittle fracture was initiated from a small inclusion or an inclusion away from the V-notch. The density, geometry, and chemical composition of the primary initiation inclusions were investigated. A brittle fracture crack initiates as a microcrack either within the multiphase oxide inclusions or from the debonded interfaces between the uncracked inclusions and weld metal matrix. Primary fracture sites can be determined in all the specimens tested in the lower part of the transition curve at and below the 41-J reference impact toughness energy but not above the mentioned value because of the changes in the fracture mechanism and resulting changes in the fracture appearance.
A numerical study of stress distribution and fatigue behavior in terms of the effect of voids adjacent to inclusions was conducted with finite element modeling simulations under different assumptions. Fatigue mechanisms were also analyzed accordingly. The results showed that the effects of inclusions on fatigue life will distinctly decrease if the mechanical properties are close to those of the steel matrix. For the inclusions, which are tightly bonded with the steel matrix, when the Young’s modulus is larger than that of the steel matrix, the stress will concentrate inside the inclusion; otherwise, the stress will concentrate in the steel matrix. If voids exist on the interface between inclusions and the steel matrix, their effects on the fatigue process differ with their positions relative to the inclusions. The void on one side of an inclusion perpendicular to the fatigue loading direction will aggravate the effect of inclusions on fatigue behavior and lead to a sharp stress concentration. The void on the top of inclusion along the fatigue loading direction will accelerate the debonding between the inclusion and steel matrix.
Selective laser melting (SLM) technology plays an important role in the preparation of porous titanium (Ti) implants with complex structures and precise sizes. Unfortunately, the processing characteristics of this technology, which include rapid melting and solidification, lead to products with high residual stress. Herein, an in situ method was developed to restrain the residual stress and improve the mechanical strength of porous Ti alloys during laser additive manufacturing. In brief, porous Ti6Al4V was prepared by an SLM three-dimensional (3D) printer equipped with a double laser system that could rescan each layer immediately after solidification of the molten powder, thus reducing the temperature gradient and avoiding rapid melting and cooling. Results indicated that double scanning can provide stronger bonding conditions for the honeycomb structure and improve the yield strength and elastic modulus of the alloy. Rescanning with an energy density of 75% resulted in 33.5%–38.0% reductions in residual stress. The porosities of double-scanned specimens were 2%–4% lower than those of single-scanned specimens, and the differences noted increased with increasing sheet thickness. The rescanning laser power should be reduced during the preparation of porous Ti with thick cell walls to ensure dimensional accuracy.
We report the electrochemical performance of Ni(OH)2 on a gas diffusion layer (GDL). The Ni(OH)2 working electrode was successfully prepared via a simple method, and its electrochemical performance in 1 M NaOH electrolyte was investigated. The electrochemical results showed that the Ni(OH)2/GDL provided the maximum specific capacitance value (418.11 F·g−1) at 1 A·g−1. Furthermore, the Ni(OH)2 electrode delivered a high specific energy of 17.25 Wh·kg−1 at a specific power of 272.5 W·kg−1 and retained about 81% of the capacitance after 1000 cycles of galvanostatic charge–discharge (GCD) measurements. The results of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) revealed the occurrence of sodium deposition after long-time cycling, which caused the reduction in the specific capacitance. This study results suggest that the light-weight GDL, which can help overcome the problem of the oxide layer on metal–foam substrates, is a promising current collector to be used with Ni-based electroactive materials for energy storage applications.
In the Collaborative Research Centre 761’s “Steel ab initio - quantum mechanics guided design of new Fe based materials,” scientists and engineers from RWTH Aachen University and the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research conducted research on mechanism-controlled material development with a particular focus on high-manganese alloyed steels. From 2007 to 2019, a total of 55 partial projects and four transfer projects with industrial participation (some running until 2021) have studied material and process design as well as material characterization. The basic idea of the Collaborative Research Centre was to develop a new methodological approach to the design of structural materials. This paper focuses on selected results with respect to the mechanical properties of high-manganese steels, their underlying physical phenomena, and the specific characterization and modeling tools used for this new class of materials. These steels have microstructures that require characterization by the use of modern methods at the nm-scale. Along the process routes, the generation of segregations must be taken into account. Finally, the mechanical properties show a characteristic temperature dependence and peculiarities in their fracture behavior. The mechanical properties and especially bake hardening are affected by short-range ordering phenomena. The strain hardening can be adjusted in a never-before-possible range, which makes these steels attractive for demanding sheet-steel applications.
In this work, sodium dicyanamide (SD) was used as a leaching reagent for gold recovery, and the effects of the SD dosage and solution pH on the gold-leaching performance were investigated. A gold recovery of 34.8% was obtained when SD was used as the sole leaching reagent at a dosage of 15 kg/t. In the presence of a certain amount of potassium ferrocyanide (PF) in the SD solution, the gold recovery was found to increase from 34.8% to 57.08%. Using the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) technique, the leaching kinetics of SD with and without PF were studied. The QCM-D results indicate that the gold-leaching rate increased from 4.03 to 39.99 ng·cm–2·min–1 when the SD concentration was increased from 0 to 0.17 mol/L, and increased from 39.99 to 272.62 ng·cm–2·min–1 when 0.1 mol/L of PF was used in combination with SD. The pregnant solution in the leaching tests was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and electrospray mass spectrometry, which indicated that Au and (N(CN)2)– in the SD solution formed a series of metal complex ions, [AuNax(N(CN)2)x+2]– (x = 1, 2, 3, or 4).
The extraction of gold from refractory gold ores (RGOs) without side reactions is an extremely promising endeavor. However, most RGOs contain large amounts of sulfide, such as pyrite. Thus, investigation of the influence of sulfide on the gold leaching process is important to maximize the utilization of RGOs. In this work, the effects of pyrite on the stability of the thiourea system were systematically investigated under different conditions. Results showed that the decomposition rate of thiourea was accelerated sharply in the presence of pyrite. The effect of pyrite on gold recovery in thiourea leaching systems was then confirmed via a series of experiments. The decomposition efficiency of thiourea decreased by 40% and the recovery efficiency of gold increased by 56% after the removal of sulfide by roasting. Under optimal conditions, the efficiency of the gold recovery system increased to 83.69% and only 57.92% of thiourea decomposition was observed. The high consumption of thiourea by the leaching system may be attributed to not only adsorption by mineral particles but also catalytic decomposition by some impurities in the ores, such as pyrite and soluble ferric oxide.
The effects of the welding current mode in resistance spot welding on the microstructure and mechanical properties of advanced high-strength steel dual-phase 590 (DP590) sheets were investigated. Results showed that a rough martensitic structure was formed in the weld zone of the sample welded via the single-pulsed mode, whereas the microstructure in the heat-affected zone consisted of a very rough martensitic microstructure and rough ferrite. However, using the secondary pulse mode led to the formation of tempered martensite in the weld zone. The maximum load and the energy absorption to failure of the samples with the secondary pulsed cycle were higher than those of the samples with the single-pulsed mode. Tensile shear results indicated that the secondary pulsed mode could significantly change the mode of failure upon shear tension testing. Therefore, the obtained results suggest that the use of secondary pulsed mode can improve the microstructural feature and mechanical properties of advanced high-strength steel DP590 welds.
A series of novel steel–Ti(C,N) composites was fabricated by spark plasma sintering (SPS) and subsequent heat treatment. The hardness, indentation fracture resistance, and wear behaviour of the steel–Ti(C,N) composites were compared with those of the unreinforced samples, and their potentials were assessed by comparison with traditional cermet/hardmetal systems. The results showed that with the addition of 20wt% Ti(C,N), the wear rates of the newly examined composites reduced by a factor of about 2 to 4 and were comparable to those of cermets and hardmetals. The martensitic transformation of the steel matrix and the formation of in situ carbides induced by heat treatment enhanced the wear resistance. Although the presence of excessive in situ carbides improved the hardness, the low indentation fracture resistance (IFR) value resulted in brittle fracture, which in turn resulted in poor wear property. Moreover, the operative wear mechanisms were investigated. This study provides a practical and cost-effective approach to prepare steel–Ti(C,N) composites as potential wear-resistant materials.
The formation mechanism of the bonding between compound cast Al/Ti bimetal during a heat treatment regime was investigated. Commercially pure Al was cast and melt on a Ti bar in a steel tube, followed by heat treatment on the compound cast Ti/Al bimetal for different periods of time once the Al melt was solidified. No bonding was observed between the two metals after the initial casting, which can be attributed to the presence of oxide films on the liquid Al and solid Ti alloys and the trapped atmosphere between them. The effect of these layers in preventing the formation of bonding was eliminated after heat treating the cast part at ~973 K (~700°C) for at least 15 min, and the metals started to bond with each other. A detailed description of this bonding mechanism is presented in this paper.
Four types of meager and meager-lean coal and one type of high-quality anthracite were selected based on the safety requirements for blast furnace coal injection and domestic coal quality to conduct microstructure and component analyses. The analyses of the organic and inorganic macerals and the chemical compositions of the selected coal samples indicate that the four types of meager and meager-lean coal have low volatilization, low ash content, and low sulfur content; these qualities are suitable for blast furnace injection. Grindability test was conducted on the four types of meager and meager-lean coal and the anthracite mixed coal samples. Results indicate that the mixture of meager and meager-lean coal and anthracite is beneficial to improve the grindability of pulverized coal. The explosive tests reveal that the selected coal samples are non-explosive or weakly explosive. When the proportion of meager and meager-lean coal is less than 40wt%, the mixed coal powder would not explode during the blowing process. The minimum ignition temperature test determines that the minimum ignition temperatures of the four types of meager and meager-lean coal and anthracite are 326, 313, 310, 315, and 393°C, respectively. This study provides a guiding research idea for the safety of meager and meager-lean coal used in blast furnace injection.
Pt/CeO2–C catalysts with CeO2 pre-calcined at 300–600°C were synthesized by combining hydrothermal calcination and wet impregnation. The effects of the pre-calcined CeO2 on the performance of Pt/CeO2–C catalysts in methanol oxidation were investigated. The Pt/CeO2–C catalysts with pre-calcined CeO2 at 300–600°C showed an average particle size of 2.6–2.9 nm and exhibited better methanol electro-oxidation catalytic activity than the commercial Pt/C catalyst. In specific, the Pt/CeO2–C catalysts with pre-calcined CeO2 at 400°C displayed the highest electrochemical surface area value of 68.14 m2·g−1 and If/Ib ratio (the ratio of the forward scanning peak current density (If) and the backward scanning peak current density (Ib)) of 1.26, which are considerably larger than those (53.23 m2·g−1 and 0.79, respectively) of the commercial Pt/C catalyst, implying greatly enhanced CO tolerance.
To discuss the potential role of iridium (Ir) nanoparticles loaded under atmospheric and high pressures, we prepared a series of catalysts with the same active phase but different contents of 10wt%, 20wt%, and 30wt% on gamma-alumina for decomposition of hydrazine. Under atmospheric pressure, the performance of the catalyst was better when 30wt% of the Ir nanoparticles was used with chelating agent that had greater selectivity of approximately 27%. The increase in the reaction rate from 175 to 220 h−1 at higher Ir loading (30wt%) was due to a good dispersion of high-number active phases rather than an agglomeration surface. As a satisfactory result of this investigation at high pressure, Ir catalysts with different weight percentages showed the same stability against crushing and activity with a characteristic velocity of approximately 1300 m/s.
Monoclinic SrAl2Si2O8 ceramics for Sr immobilization were prepared by a liquid-phase sintering method. The sintering temperature, mineral phase composition, microstructure, flexural strength, bulk density, and Sr ion leaching characteristics of the SrAl2Si2O8 ceramics were investigated. A crystalline monoclinic SrAl2Si2O8 phase formed through liquid-phase sintering at 1223 K. The introduction of four flux agents (B2O3, CaO·2B2O3, SrO·2B2O3, and BaO·2B2O3) to the SrAl2Si2O8 ceramics not only reduced the densification temperature and decreased the volatilization of Sr during high-temperature sintering but also impacted the mechanical properties of the ceramics. Product consistency tests showed that the leaching concentration of Sr ions in the sample with flux agent B2O3 was the lowest, whereas that of Sr ions in the sample with flux agent BaO·2B2O3 was the highest. These results show that the leaching concentration of Sr ions depends largely on the amorphous phase in the ceramics. Meanwhile, the formation of mineral analog ceramics containing Sr is an important factor to improve Sr immobilization.
A high-voltage pulsed discharge (HVPD) pretreatment was used to strengthen the leaching effect of Carlin-type gold ore containing arsenic. Optimal results of the pretreatment experiments were obtained at the following operating conditions: a spherical gap spacing of 20 mm, pulse number of 100, and voltage of 30 kV. The leaching rate of gold was increased by 15.65% via the HVPD pretreatment. The mass fraction of –0.5+0.35 mm and –0.35+0.1 mm was increased by 10.97% and 6.83% compared to the untreated samples, respectively, and the Au grade of –0.1 mm was increased by 22.84%. However, the superiority of the HVPD pretreatment would be weakened by prolonged grinding time. Scanning electron microscopy results indicated that the pretreated products presented as a melting state and then condensation, accompanying by some pore formation. More micro-cracks were generated at the interface of the ore and the original crack were expended via pulsed discharge pretreatment, with the contact area between the leaching reagent and ore increased, the leaching reaction rate enhanced and the leaching effect strengthened.
Advanced high-strength steels have been widely used to improve the crashworthiness and lightweight of vehicles. Different from the popular cold stamping, hot forming of boron-alloyed manganese steels, such as 22MnB5, could produce ultra-high-strength steel parts without springback and with accurate control of dimensions. Moreover, hot-formed medium-Mn steels could have many advantages, including better mechanical properties and lower production cost, over hot-formed 22MnB5. This paper reviews the hot forming process in the automotive industry, hot-formed steel grades, and medium-Mn steel grades and their application in hot forming in depth. In particular, the adaptabilities of medium-Mn steels and the presently popular 22MnB5 into hot forming were compared thoroughly. Future research should focus on the technological issues encountered in hot forming of medium-Mn steels to promote their commercialization.