Influences of Thermomechanical Treatment and Nb Micro-alloying on the Hardenability of Ultra-High Strength Steels

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  • voestalpine Stahl Linz GmbH


For the construction of mobile crane booms, ultra-high strength steels produced via thermomechanical processing (TMP) have widely substituted steels fabricated through the conventional quenching and tempering (Q+T) route. A strong deformation of the austenite grain during hot rolling followed by direct quenching (DQ) offers benefits in terms of strength and toughness. To guarantee an optimal through-hardening, alloying elements retarding the γ to α transformation are used. To explore the influence of the processing route on the critical cooling rate and the hardenability, hot deformation tests were performed on a deformation dilatometer. Different cooling rates were applied after deformation corresponding to two different rolling cycles with varying finish rolling temperatures (FRTs). The obtained hardness values were compared to those received through conventional quenching after austenitization. These investigations conducted on three steels with varying micro-alloying contents showed that Nb in combination with TMP raises strength significantly, and promotes a bainitic and ferritic transformation in solid solution. When applying low FRTs and in combination with other micro-alloying elements, NbC coarsens and reduces the effect of precipitation hardening.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3238 - 3245
Number of pages8
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2019