University of Oulu

Two methods for processing an ultrafine ferritic grain size in steels and the thermal stability of the structure

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Author: Pan, Longxiu1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 70.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2004
Publish Date: 2004-10-19
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Raahensali (Auditorium L10), Linnanmaa, on October 29th, 2004, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Doctor Jukka Kömi
Doctor Juha Perttula


In this thesis, methods to process ultrafine ferritic (UFF) structures in steels, i.e. grain sizes below about 3 μm have been investigated. It is shown here, in accordance with the results in the literature, that a steel with a UFF grain size can be obtained by two methods, more or less convenient to mass production: deformation-induced ferrite transformation from fine-grained austenite (the DIF route) and the static recrystallization of various heavily cold-worked initial microstructures (the SRF/SRM route).

In the present work, the influencing factors in the processing of UFF structure in the DIF route have been systematically studied in four low-carbon steels: one C-Mn steel and Nb, Nb-Ti and Nb-high Ti microalloyed steels. A high strain, a low deformation temperature close to Ar3 and a fine prior austenite grain size are beneficial to promote the formation of UFF grains. Especially by using complex pretreatments to refine the prior austenite grain size, cold rolling, repeating the low-temperature reheating cycle or using martensitic initial microstructure, a UFF grain size can be obtained in these steels at the strain of 1.2 (70% reduction) at 780 °C. By controlling the cooling rate, the type of the second phase can be adjusted.

When using the static recrystallization route, it was found that UFF is difficult to obtain from a single-phase ferrite, but it is relatively readily obtained from deformed pearlite, bainite or martensite, especially in high-carbon steels with 0.3–0.8%C. In deformed pearlite, the cementite lamellae fragmented and spheroidised in the course of heavy deformation can provide numerous nucleation sites by the particle stimulated nucleation mechanism and retard the subgrain and recrystallized grain growth. Nucleation and retardation of grain growth are effective also in deformed bainite, martensite or high-carbon tempered martensite, as discussed in detail in the work.

The thermal stability of UFF grained steels was tested and found to be generally excellent, but it varies depending on the processing method. The UFF structure obtained by the SRM route has a thermal stability somewhat weaker than that of the DIF route. For a given steel, UFF grains may show different grain growth modes, related to the dispersion of second phase particles. In the DIF structure, abnormal grain growth occurs at 700 °C after about 2.5 h, while in the SRM structure, normal grain growth takes place slowly at 600 °C. Carbides on the grain boundaries seem to play an important role in inhibiting grain coarsening. No coarse-grained zone was formed at the HAZ of electron beam or laser welded seams, as performed at low heat inputs (up to 1.5 kJ/cm) on thin strips. The hardness even increased from the base metal towards the HAZ and the weld metal in all seams as an indication that they were hardened during the rapid cooling.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. C, Technica
ISSN-E: 1796-2226
ISBN: 951-42-7489-X
ISBN Print: 951-42-7488-1
Issue: 211
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