Severe Plastic Deformation of a Bainitic Rail Steel
Severe Plastic Deformation (SPD) is known to be an effective method of producing nanocrystalline materials, for instance by HPT and ECAP. These techniques are also capable of reproducing microstructures which arise naturally when high pressure and friction is involved, for example in wheel-rail contact problems. The resulting deformation layers build the origin point for fatigue cracks. For that reason the knowledge of the mechanical properties of these deformation layers are of vital importance. In the framework of this study a baintic rail steel quality was deformed by High Pressure Torsion up to distinctive equivalent strains at a nominal pressure of 6 GPa up to a final equivalent strain of 16. Afterwards the evolution of the resulting microstructure was investigated by Scanning Electron Microscopy, by microhardness measurements and X-ray diffraction. The bainitic structure showed a strong alignment and fragmentation into the shear direction with increasing strain, which was accompanied by an increase in hardness as well. X-ray diffraction measurements showed that the amount of retained austenite decreases dramatically after small amounts of strain, which indicates that retained austenite cannot be stabilized by high pressures. Torque measurements during deformation showed after strong hardening at the beginning, a saturation behaviour for higher strains, whereas for instance pearlitic rail steel qualities show further hardening.
Yuri Estrin and Hans Jürgen Maier
A. Hohenwarter et al., "Severe Plastic Deformation of a Bainitic Rail Steel", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 584-586, pp. 655-660, 2008