Application of Nb-O Affinity in Clean Steel
This report introduces a new deoxidation process that starts with a vacuum degassing followed by the addition of ferro-niobium in the same vacuum facility. The addition of strong deoxidation substance like aluminum and/or silicon is not adopted. Owing to the degassing in vacuum, which in reality reacts as deoxidation with C in molten steel, the solute oxygen in molten steel (O) is stabilized by niobium, which generates an ample number of fine oxide particles composed of (Nb, Mn)2O3-phase. Provided the carbon-degassing is conducted so as to reach the O prior to the FeNb addition would be around 100ppm and less, these oxide-inclusions do not agglomerate before and during solidification, because of the weak cohesivity of niobium-based oxides in molten steel, which would enable defect-free cast products as well as clogging-less casting operation. Also, the steel containing these fine (Nb, Mn)2O3-particles but no Al, exhibits so-called intra-granular acicular ferrite transformation and good toughness of weld heat affected zone (HAZ).
J.M. Rodriguez-Ibabe, I. Gutiérrez, B. López and A. Iza-Mendia
M. Imagumbai et al., "Application of Nb-O Affinity in Clean Steel", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 500-501, pp. 559-564, 2005