Abstract: Introduction to the Fe-C-X system: Si, Mn, Al and Nb, Ti, V, B allow the ultimate tensile strength and ductility of steel to be increased at the same time. Therefore, multiphase steels of the TRIP, DP, MART and CP are the steels of the future. The scientific aim of the researches were to obtain new basic information on alloying process of liquid steel in a tundish with the use of the pulse–step method. The facility under investigation was a single outlet tundish being a component of a slab continuous casting machine. Computer simulations of the liquid steel flow and alloy behaviour in turbulent motion conditions were done using the Ansys-Fluent computer program. For generating the computational grids, Gambit program was used. For pulse–step method optimisation two aspects were considered. At first numerical simulations were performed for the selection of the time interval between the pulse feed of the first alloy batch and the continuous feed of subsequent alloy batches in order to maintain the required homogenisation level. Next simulations were done for determination of the mass of the pulse charge that ensures not only the attainment of the 95% homogenisation level, but also the limitation of alloy concentration peaks occurring in the liquid steel and going beyond the 95% homogenisation zone. On the basis of numerical investigations the mixing curves and time mixing for different variants of pulse-step method optimization were obtained.
Abstract: This work explores the effect of heating rate on the prior austenite grain size and hardness of a thermomechanically processed novel niobium-microalloyed 0.40 % carbon low-alloyed steel intended for use in induction hardened slurry pipelines. The aim was to identify the heating rates that lead to the maximum hardness, for high wear resistance, and minimum prior austenite grain size, for high toughness. For this purpose, a Gleeble 3800 machine has been employed to simulate the induction hardening process and provide dilatometric phase transformation data. The prior austenite grain structure has been reconstructed from the EBSD results using a MatlabR script supplemented with MTEX texture and crystallography analyses. Heating rates ranged from 1 to 50 °C/s and the cooling rate was 50 °C/s. The results show that the prior austenite grain size greatly depended on the heating rate: compared to the lower heating rates, the maximum heating rate of 50 C/s produces remarkably fine prior austenite grains and a fine final martensitic microstructure after quenching. In addition, a relation between the heating rate and the deviation from equilibrium temperature has been established.
Abstract: Niobium in steels can be used as substitutional solid solute or as precipitates. In solution, Nb exerts a solute drag effect delaying but usually not interrupting static recrystallization during hot rolling and increasing hardenability during post rolling cooling. Fine precipitates generated during rolling/cooling can interrupt recrystallization in finishing and precipitate in the ferrite matrix increasing strength. As a relatively fine precipitate Nb can also inhibit austenite grain growth during reheating.This paper highlights the idea that micro-additions of Nb, up to 0.02%, to ordinary commodity C-Mn structural steels can improve their strength. Industry trial results are presented giving evidence that mechanical properties can be improved, and a leaner/optimized chemistry may be used by adding these micro-quantities of Nb to otherwise ordinary commodity C-Mn steels.Microstructural analysis of a C-Mn vs. a leaner/optimized C-Mn-micro Nb steel along with austenite evolution modeling using MicroSim-PM© helped identifying which type of metallurgical mechanisms are in-play resulting in higher strengths. This alternative composition has led to lower costs, lower CE, improved microstructure and a more stable process.
Abstract: Processing parameters have direct impacts on the quality of the steels produced. This is particularly true for microalloyed steels, the production of which involves a thermomechanical controlled rolling process, which combines multi-pass hot rolling with accelerated cooling. On one hand, hot rolling may finish below A3 temperature when austenite starts to transform to ferrite. On the other hand, controlled cooling is applied to obtain the desired microstructure from austenite decomposition. To optimise the TMCP parameters of such alloys, not only a clear understanding of each metallurgical phenomenon involved is required, but also the interactions among them. This paper reports our recent work on modelling of microstructural evolution and deformation resistance during multi-pass hot rolling of steels. The model considers the following metallurgical phenomena as well as their interactions: - Precipitation of MX type carbides, nitrides or carbonitrides. - Interactions between precipitation and recrystallisation and their effects on grain refinement. - Effect of grain size and cooling path on transformations from austenite to ferrite, pearlite, bainite and martensite. - Effect of rolling parameters, recrystallisation and microstructure on the deformation resistance of the alloy. The model predicts the evolution of microstructural features such as precipitate size and amount, recrystallisation fraction and effective strain, grain size, and austenite decomposition, as well as the alloy’s deformation resistance during hot rolling. It has been applied to a wide range of steels and demonstrated good agreement with experimental observations. Therefore, it has the great potential to be implemented in a production line to help optimise the rolling schedule for both C-Mn and microalloyed steels.
Abstract: The influence of aluminium content on the hot ductility behaviour in V-N steels was investigated. Cylindrical specimens were subjected to thermal cycles and strain rates approximating those experienced by a conventional slab surface during continuous casting. The resulting microstructures were examined using light optical and electron microscopy and correlated with measured reduction-in-area (RA) values, calculated precipitate chemistries and volume fractions, as well as the flow stress behaviour. It was found that removal of aluminium significantly improved the hot ductility. However, increasing the total [V][N] product in Al-free steels reduces RA. Poor hot ductility is caused by low austenite grain boundary mobility characterized by high work hardening rates. The fracture mode in brittle specimens is intergranular along thin ferrite films. AlN appears to inhibit austenite grain boundary mobility in V-high N steels when the cooling rate and strain rate are both very slow as experienced during unbending. SEM analysis of fracture surfaces revealed the presence of MnS-AlN particles in microvoids. TEM-EDAX spectra showed that the larger particles observed in the Al-containing steels are mostly a constitution of duplex/triplex grain boundary precipitates, i.e., MnS-AlN and V(C,N). Conversely, good ductility in austenite is associated with high grain boundary mobility that produces fine, recrystallised grains and subsequent dimple fracture after plastic tensile stress.
Abstract: Thermomechanical hot rolling processes are often realized using reverse rolling stands, where the rolled stock is fed forward and backward through the rolling gap. During those processes, material undergoes several strain reversals that significantly alter microstructure evolution of austenite with respect to continuously rolled counterparts. In Nb-microalloyed steels, where precipitation hardening is usually expected, the effects of strain reversal are especially complex. When rolling direction is reversed, both static recrystallization (SRX) kinetics and strain-induced precipitation (SIP) processes are slowed down due to decreasing dislocation density. It affects the competition between driving force for SRX and pinning pressure for SIP and, in turn, changes the non-recrystallization temperature (Tnr), compared to the case where strain path is linear. In the present paper, detailed through-scale analysis of strain path effects in microalloyed austenite will be presented. Physical simulation and detailed microstructural analysis will be employed to study global and local effects in microalloyed austenite after complex deformation histories. Conclusions regarding the influence of strain path changes on the interactions between SRX and SIP will be drawn.
Abstract: The current work aims at developing models supporting design of the rolling and quenching processes. This requires a martensite formation model that can account for effect of previous plastic deformation as well as evolution of stress and temperature during the quenching step. The effect of deformation prior to the cooling on the transformation is evaluated. The experimental result shows that prior deformation impedes the martensite transformation due to the mechanical stabilisation of the austenite phase. Larger deformation above 30 % reduces the effect of the mechanical stabilisation due to increase in martensite nucleation sites. The computed transformation curves, based on an extended version of the Koistinen-Marburger equation, agree well with experimental results for pre-straining less than 30 %.
Abstract: Annealed Martensite Matrix (AMM) concept was studied on two steel grades with low alloyed base composition of Fe-C-Mn-Si and two levels of Nb. Conditions for the thermal treatments were selected based on the experimental dilatometry tests and thermodynamic calculations. Annealing trials with short austempering holding were performed in the laboratory salt pots. Mechanical properties of heat treated steels have been investigated by tensile tests. Associated microstructures have been analyzed using Scanning Electron Microscopy as well as magnetization saturation method for measuring retained austenite fractions. Excellent strength-ductility balance was obtained due to the ultra-fine multiphase structure and high amount of stable retained austenite.
Abstract: The addition of titanium is a well-known microalloying concept for hot rolled structural steels. Concerning advanced high strength steels for the automotive sector, the use of Ti microalloying (usually with Nb-V) has been an active research area. However, Ti addition has not been explored in depth. For the current contribution, a laboratory hot rolled 0.2C-2.4Mn-1.5Si steel with and without Ti addition was studied. Mechanical testing of the hot strip revealed a very high UTS (1GPa) for the Ti added steel, whilst for the unalloyed chemistry the UTS was some 300 MPa lower. Observation of the hot rolled microstructures via optical microscopy showed a significantly higher hardenability for the Ti added steel. Moreover, X-ray diffraction analysis indicated a significant amount of retained austenite in the Ti added strip, which transformed completely to martensite after the tensile test. Further analysis via TEM and chemical extraction indicated that Ti was present both as Ti (C,N) precipitates and in solution. Finally, in light of these observations, the possible mechanisms leading to the enhanced hardenability observed for the Ti added hot rolled strip steel were discussed.
Abstract: Serious defects in the continuous casting of steel, including surface cracks and depressions, are often related to thermal mechanical behavior during solidification in the mold. A finite-element model has been developed to simulate the temperature, shape, and stress of the steel shell, as it moves down the mold in a state of generalized plane strain at the casting speed. The thermal model simulates transient heat transfer in the solidifying steel and between the shell and mold wall. The thermal model is coupled with a stress model that features temperature-, composition-, and phase dependent elastic-visco-plastic constitutive behavior of the steel, accounting for liquid, δ-ferrite, and γ-austenite behavior. Depressions are predicted to form when the shell is subjected to either excessive compression or tension, but the shapes, severity, and appearance differ with conditions. Cracks appearing without depressions are suggested to form in the lower ductility trough when the shell is colder but more brittle. The local thickness of the shell and austenite layer appears to have major effects as well. The model reveals new insights into the formation mechanisms and behavior of surface depressions and longitudinal cracks in the continuous casting process.