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The effect of vanadium and niobium on the properties and microstructure of the intercritically reheated coarse grained heat affected zone in low carbon microalloyed steels

Li, Y. and Crowther, D.N. and Green, M.J.W. and Mitchell, P.S. and Baker, T.N. (2001) The effect of vanadium and niobium on the properties and microstructure of the intercritically reheated coarse grained heat affected zone in low carbon microalloyed steels. ISIJ International, 41 (1). pp. 46-55. ISSN 0915-1559

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Abstract

Four steels, C-Mn-0.05V, C-Mn-0.11V, C-Mn and C-Mn-0.03Nb, all essentially boron-free were subjected to processing to simulate the microstructure of a coarse grained heat affected zone (GC HAZ) and an intercritically reheated coarse grained HAZ (IC GC HAZ). This involved reheating to 1 350°C, rapid cooling (Dt8/524 s) to room temperature and then reheating to either 750°C or 800°C. The toughness of the simulated GC HAZ and IC GC HAZ was assessed using both Charpy and CTOD tests and the hardness of both zones was also measured. A detailed assessment of the size and area fraction of martensite-austenite (MA) phase in the IC GC HAZ in the steels was obtained from a combination of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Image Analysis of the resultant SEM micrographs. In addition, the distribution of the M-A phase was examined by observing 250 fields at a magnification of 2 500 times in the SEM for each of the steels. It is clear that the alloying addition has a significant effect on the amount and size of the M-A phase. The addition of 0.05% V to the C-Mn steel resulted in the lowest IC GC HAZ Charpy 50J impact transition temperature and the 0.1 mm CTOD transition temperature. The corresponding size and area fraction of the M-A phase were the smallest of the four steels. Raising the level of vanadium to 0.11% caused a deterioration in IC GC HAZ toughness, which was reflected in a greater area fraction of M-A phase, larger mean and maximum sizes of M-A particles and significantly more fields containing M-A phase. The addition of 0.03%Nb produced poorer IC GC HAZ toughness data than C-Mn-V and C-Mn steels and this was related to the large size and area fraction of M-A phase quantified in the Nb steel. The presence of M-A phase is considered to be the dominant factor in determining the toughness of IC GC HAZ.