Zhu, Ruixian (2013-05). Microstructure Design of Low Alloy Transformation-Induced Plasticity Assisted Steels. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • The microstructure of low alloy Transformation Induced Plasticity (TRIP) assisted steels has been systematically varied through the combination of computational and experimental methodologies in order to enhance the mechanical performance and to fulfill the requirement of the next generation Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS). The roles of microstructural parameters, such as phase constitutions, phase stability, and volume fractions on the strength-ductility combination have been revealed. Two model alloy compositions (i.e. Fe-1.5Mn-1.5Si-0.3C, and Fe-3Mn-1Si-0.3C in wt%, nominal composition) were studied. Multiphase microstructures including ferrite, bainite, retained austenite and martensite were obtained through conventional two step heat treatment (i.e. intercritical annealing-IA, and bainitic isothermal transformation-BIT). The effect of phase constitution on the mechanical properties was first characterized experimentally via systematically varying the volume fractions of these phases through computational thermodynamics. It was found that martensite was the main phase to deteriorate ductility, meanwhile the C/VA ratio (i.e. carbon content over the volume fraction of austenite) could be another indicator for the ductility of the multiphase microstructure. Following the microstructural characterization of the multiphase alloys, two microstructural design criteria (i.e. maximizing ferrite and austenite, suppressing athermal martensite) were proposed in order to optimize the corresponding mechanical performance. The volume fraction of ferrite was maximized during the IA with the help of computational thermodyanmics. On the other hand, it turned out theoretically that the martensite suppression could not be avoided on the low Mn contained alloy (i.e. Fe-1.5Mn-1.5Si-0.3C). Nevertheless, the achieved combination of strength (~1300MPa true strength) and ductility (~23% uniform elongation) on the low Mn alloy following the proposed design criteria fulfilled the requirement of the next generation AHSS. To further optimize the microstructure such that the designed criteria can be fully satisfied, further efforts have been made on two aspects: heat treatment and alloy addition. A multi-step BIT treatment was designed and successfully reduced the martensite content on the Fe-1.5Mn-1.5Si-0.3C alloy. Microstructure analysis showed a significant reduction on the volume fraction of martensite after the multi-step BIT as compared to the single BIT step. It was also found that, a slow cooling rate between the two BIT treatments resulted in a better combination of strength and ductility than rapid cooling or conventional one step BIT. Moreover, the athermal martensite formation can be fully suppressed by increasing the Mn content (Fe-3Mn-1Si-0.3C) and through carefully designed heat treatments. The athermal martensite-free alloy provided consistently better ductility than the martensite containing alloy. Finally, a microstructure based semi-empirical constitutive model has been developed to predict the monotonic tensile behavior of the multiphase TRIP assisted steels. The stress rule of mixture and isowork assumption for individual phases was presumed. Mecking-Kocks model was utilized to simulate the flow behavior of ferrite, bainitic ferrite and untransformed retained austenite. The kinetics of strain induced martensitic transformation was modeled following the Olson-Cohen method. The developed model has results in good agreements with the experimental results for both TRIP steels studied with same model parameters.
  • The microstructure of low alloy Transformation Induced Plasticity (TRIP) assisted steels has been systematically varied through the combination of computational and experimental methodologies in order to enhance the mechanical performance and to fulfill the requirement of the next generation Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS). The roles of microstructural parameters, such as phase constitutions, phase stability, and volume fractions on the strength-ductility combination have been revealed.

    Two model alloy compositions (i.e. Fe-1.5Mn-1.5Si-0.3C, and Fe-3Mn-1Si-0.3C in wt%, nominal composition) were studied. Multiphase microstructures including ferrite, bainite, retained austenite and martensite were obtained through conventional two step heat treatment (i.e. intercritical annealing-IA, and bainitic isothermal transformation-BIT). The effect of phase constitution on the mechanical properties was first characterized experimentally via systematically varying the volume fractions of these phases through computational thermodynamics. It was found that martensite was the main phase to deteriorate ductility, meanwhile the C/VA ratio (i.e. carbon content over the volume fraction of austenite) could be another indicator for the ductility of the multiphase microstructure.

    Following the microstructural characterization of the multiphase alloys, two microstructural design criteria (i.e. maximizing ferrite and austenite, suppressing athermal martensite) were proposed in order to optimize the corresponding mechanical performance. The volume fraction of ferrite was maximized during the IA with the help of computational thermodyanmics. On the other hand, it turned out theoretically that the martensite suppression could not be avoided on the low Mn contained alloy (i.e. Fe-1.5Mn-1.5Si-0.3C). Nevertheless, the achieved combination of strength (~1300MPa true strength) and ductility (~23% uniform elongation) on the low Mn alloy following the proposed design criteria fulfilled the requirement of the next generation AHSS.

    To further optimize the microstructure such that the designed criteria can be fully satisfied, further efforts have been made on two aspects: heat treatment and alloy addition. A multi-step BIT treatment was designed and successfully reduced the martensite content on the Fe-1.5Mn-1.5Si-0.3C alloy. Microstructure analysis showed a significant reduction on the volume fraction of martensite after the multi-step BIT as compared to the single BIT step. It was also found that, a slow cooling rate between the two BIT treatments resulted in a better combination of strength and ductility than rapid cooling or conventional one step BIT. Moreover, the athermal martensite formation can be fully suppressed by increasing the Mn content (Fe-3Mn-1Si-0.3C) and through carefully designed heat treatments. The athermal martensite-free alloy provided consistently better ductility than the martensite containing alloy.

    Finally, a microstructure based semi-empirical constitutive model has been developed to predict the monotonic tensile behavior of the multiphase TRIP assisted steels. The stress rule of mixture and isowork assumption for individual phases was presumed. Mecking-Kocks model was utilized to simulate the flow behavior of ferrite, bainitic ferrite and untransformed retained austenite. The kinetics of strain induced martensitic transformation was modeled following the Olson-Cohen method. The developed model has results in good agreements with the experimental results for both TRIP steels studied with same model parameters.

publication date

  • May 2013