Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of A 1.4%C Ultra High Carbon Steel
1.4 %C ultra high carbon steel (UHCS) was prepared in order to study the structure of martensite transformation and mechanical properties. Ultra-fine spherical carbide and ultra-fine austenite grain size were obtained. A great deal of lath martensite was observed after quenching. The phenomenon does not agree with the traditional knowledge that the lath martensite would disappear when carbon content is in excess of 0.8% in austenite. The strength, fatigue properties and fracture toughness have been measured. A good combination of strength, toughness and fatigue properties come from fine and uniform distributed carbide particles and ultra-fine austenite grain size. Fracture strength increases by 48%, yield strength increases by 15% and plasticity keep the same comparing with that of hardened and tempered 40CrNiMo. The carbon content of ultrahigh carbon steels (UHCS) is in the range of 1.0-2.1% [1, 2]. Traditional heat treatments for normal steels will cause the microstructure of UHCS to be coarse and do not produce optimal properties. With controlled rolling and special heat treatment, UHCS can be in ferrite, pearlite, bainnite or martensite structures, which all have different mechanical properties. The yield stress of a 1.8%C, 1.6%Al ferrite UHCS can reach 1500MPa, which is much higher than that of high strength and plain alloy steels . The tensile strength of a 1.25%C-1.5%Cr pearlite UHCS can reach 1810Mpa and its elongation can be 18%. When it is treated into martensite, its compression strength reached to 4690Mpa and compression strain reached to 26% [1, 4], which is comparable to WC-12Co. Such good mechanical properties can be ascribed to the ultra fine grain sizes because of the undissolved carbide particles which resist growth of austenite grain during heating. Another reason could be the lath martensite structures. O.D.Sherby  had reported that there was a lot of lath martensite in quenched UHCS. The UHCS was considered not only as tool steels but also as good structure materials. Fracture and fatigue properties are important for structure materials. However, they have rarely been studied. The present paper is going to study the martensite structure and mechanical properties of a prepared 1.4% C UHCS.
Young-Jin Kim, Dong-Ho Bae and Yun-Jae Kim
Y. N. Liu et al., "Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of A 1.4%C Ultra High Carbon Steel ", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 297-300, pp. 1178-1182, 2005