Precipitation Sequence and Kinetics in an Fe-Si-Ti Alloy
The Fe-Si-Ti system is known to show nanoscale precipitation of the Fe2SiTi Heusler phase with potentially high volume fraction (~4%), very high density and a size ranging from 1 to 20nm after artificial aging. The strong hardening potential of these precipitates make these steels candidates for automotive applications; however no understanding of the precipitation sequence (competition with other phases) nor the precipitation kinetics are available. The present study presents a quantitative study of the precipitation kinetics (size, volume fraction and number density) in a wide temperature range (450-800°C), realised by coupling systematically Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS), Transmission Electron microscopy (TEM) and Tomographic Atom Probe (TAP). Tensile tests were also carried out so as to determine the microstructure/properties relationships. Along the complete temperature range, it is shown that a compromise between time for precipitation and small precipitate sizes can be reached around 550°C. At this intermediate temperature, precipitation is shown to occur in two steps, linked with a second nucleation process after nucleation & growth of the first family of Fe2SiTi has been completed. This second precipitation step results in a temporary decrease in precipitate size and an increase in hardness. The nature of these precipitates is discussed in view of the TEM and TAP observations.
Yves Bréchet, Emmanuel Clouet, Alexis Deschamps, Alphonse Finel and Frédéric Soisson
M. Perrier et al., "Precipitation Sequence and Kinetics in an Fe-Si-Ti Alloy", Solid State Phenomena, Vols. 172-174, pp. 833-838, 2011