Influence of different cyclic intercritical heat treatment schedules on the microstructure and mechanical behaviour of a medium carbon low alloy steel
AbstractIn the present research, the prospect of optimizing high strength and formability in medium carbon low alloy steel via different cyclic intercritical treatment procedures was investigated. Three intercritical treatment schedules (Route A - cyclic intercritical annealing only, Route B - cold rolling followed by cyclic intercritical annealing, and Route C - cyclic cold rolling and intercritical annealing operations) performed at 770o C were utilized in this research work. For each treatment route, a maximum of three heating cycles was used. Microstructural examination, hardness measurement and tensile properties evaluation were used as basis to assess the mechanical behaviour of the dual phase structures produced. The results show that for Route A and B, grain refinement and homogeneous distribution of ferrite and martensite was obtained for specimens subjected to two cycles of intercritical annealing. This resulted in peak strength, toughness and hardness in comparison to specimens subjected to one or three cycles of intercritical annealing. For Route C, the same properties were impoverished with increase in intercritical annealing cycles. The best combination of hardness, strength, toughness and strain to fracture was achieved with the use of an initial cold rolling and two cycles of intercritical annealing at 770o C.
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