Effect of Cooling Rate on Precipitation Behavior and Micromechanical Properties of Ferrite in VN Alloyed Steel During a Simulated Thermomechanical Process


The effect of the cooling rate after finish deformation at 1223 K (950 °C) on the microstructural evolution, V(C,N) precipitation, and micromechanical properties of ferrite in high-N V-alloyed building steel was comparatively investigated using a Gleeble-1500 thermomechanical simulator. Metallographic analysis shows that polygonal ferrite (PF) and pearlite (P) were dominant microconstituents at cooling rates ranging from 0.5 K/s to 3 K/s (0.5 °C/s to 3 °C/s). As the cooling rate increased within this range, the average ferrite grain size decreased from 6.1 ± 0.30 to 4.4 ± 0.25 μm. Besides, the sheet spacing of interphase precipitated V(C,N) particles decreased from 64.0 to 78.7 to 21.9 to 24.5 nm, and the average size of randomly precipitated particles was refined from 8.2 ± 3.24 to 6.3 ± 2.18 nm. The number density of precipitates with a size below and above 10 nm decreased, and the total number density decreased from 2482 ± 430 to 1699 ± 142 μm−2. Moreover, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) observation revealed that there exists a coherent interface between the nanoscaled V(C,N) particle and the ferrite matrix. This interface lowered the nucleation energy barrier and promoted the V(C,N) particle precipitation in the ferrite matrix. Nanoindentation measurements indicated that the ferrite phase became softer, and the corresponding value of nanohardness and Young’s modulus decreased as the cooling rate increased, which was caused predominantly by the decrease in precipitation hardening due to the lower number density of V(C,N) precipitates.


Jing Zhang (1,2), Fu-Ming Wangm (1,2), Zhan-Bing Yang (1,2) and Chang-Rong Li (3)


1. School of Metallurgical and Ecological EngineeringUniversity of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing, P.R. China

2. State Key Laboratory of Advanced MetallurgyUniversity of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing, P.R. China

3. School of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing, P.R. China

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Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A, vol. 48, no. 12, 2017, pp. 6142-6152.