Strengthening from Nb-rich clusters in a Nb-microalloyed steel Academic Article uri icon


  • We demonstrate that a Nb-microalloyed ultra-thin cast strip steel can be strengthened substantially without compromising ductility by performing a simple heat treatment at 700 C for 4 min. The strengthening was attributed to a fine dispersion of Nb-rich solute atom clusters. These clusters had an average size of 60 atoms at peak hardness and resembled Guinier-Preston zones in Al-Cu alloys. The application of the Ashby-Orowan equation indicates that these clusters are potent strengthening agents when compared to conventional Nb(C,N) precipitation strengthening. 2012 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Xie, K. Y., Zheng, T., Cairney, J. M., Kaul, H., Williams, J. G., Barbaro, F. J., Killmore, C. R., & Ringer, S. P.

citation count

  • 76

complete list of authors

  • Xie, Kelvin Y||Zheng, Tianxiao||Cairney, Julie M||Kaul, Harold||Williams, James G||Barbaro, Frank J||Killmore, Chris R||Ringer, Simon P

publication date

  • May 2012