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Phases and Microstructure

Fe-Fe3C phase diagram


Iron and Steel
Steel Microstructures

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Iron-Iron carbide phase diagram


0.18

0.10

2.11

0.77

0.008 at RT

Identify the terminal phases and its solubility


Dr. Shashank Shekhar

Knowledge Incubation for TEQIP IIT Kanpur

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Iron-Iron Carbide Phase Diagram


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Iron-Iron carbide phase diagram


Its not a true equilibrium phase diagram because

iron carbide is not a stable phase


Iron carbide decomposes into iron and carbon
(graphite)
Even at elevated temperature (like 700C), it will take
several years for decomposition
Hence for all practical purpose Iron-Iron carbide
phase diagram represents equilibrium changes
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Source: Wikipedia

Iron-Iron Carbide Phase Diagram


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Carbon being a very small atom gets into the

interstitial of ferrite/ austenite phases to form solid


solution
Ferrous metals - based on iron, comprises about 75%
of metal tonnage in the world. Broadly three main
alloys

Iron = C content < 0.008 wt%


Steel = Fe-C alloy (0.008 to 2.11% C)
Cast iron = Fe-C alloy (2.11% to 6.7% C)
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Materials Science and Metallurgy by Pollack

Allotropes of Iron and various phases


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-ferrite (BCC)

1538

Max solubility of C is 0.022 wt %

Temperature

1394

RT solubility of C is 0.008 wt %

-austenite (FCC)
Max solubility of C is 2.14 wt %

912
768

-ferrite (BCC)
Stable only at high T
Max solubility of C is 0.10 wt %

Fe3C (iron carbide/ cementite)


Orthorhombic structure

Why is solubility of C higher in


FCC than in BCC?

Intermetallic
Brittle

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Transformation Temperatures
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A1 = Temperature at which austenite begins to form

during heating
A2 = Temperature at which iron becomes nonmagnetic
A3 = Temperature at which transformation of iron
to austenite is completed during heating
A4 = Temperature at which austenite transforms to
delta ferrite
Am = Temperature at which solutionizing of
cementite in austenite is complete
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Various Transformation Reactions and


development of Microstructure
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Peritectic Reaction:
L+

Eutectic Reaction: Eutectic of austenite and

cementite is known as ledeburite

L + Fe3C

Eutectoid Reaction: Eutectoid of ferrite and

cementite is known as pearlite. The ferrite and


cementite phases occur as alternate layers

+ Fe3C
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Definition of Microstructure
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The microstructure of crystalline materials is defined

by the type, structure, number, shape and


topological arrangement of phases and/or lattice
defects .
Elements of microstructure: Point defects,

point-defect clusters, dislocations, stacking faults,


grain boundaries, interphase interfaces are
important elements of the microstructure of most
materials.
Dr. Shashank Shekhar

Knowledge Incubation for TEQIP IIT Kanpur

Steels
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Steels can be categorized as


Low carbon steels (C < 0.3 %)
Medium carbon steels (0.3 < C <0.6)
High carbon steels (C>0.6 %)

Steels can also be grouped as (a) plain carbon steels,

(b) low alloy steels (c) stainless steels and (d) tool
steels
Hypoeutectoid steels (C between 0.022 to 0.77) and
Hypereutectoid steels ( C > 0.77)
Several solid state transformations take place in steel
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Microstructure of Eutectoid steel


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When Fe-alloy of 0.77% of C is

cooled slowly it transforms


from single phase of austenite
to pearlite structure, a lamellar
or layered structure of two
phases: ferrite and cementite
In the micrograph, dark
regions are cementite and
bright regions are ferrite

Dr. Shashank Shekhar

Knowledge Incubation for TEQIP IIT Kanpur

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Why layered structure?


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Layered structures are

formed because of
redistribution of C atoms
between ferrite (0.022 wt %)
and cementite (6.7 wt %) by
diffusion
Mechanical properties of
pearlite are in between that
of ferrite (soft) and
cementite (brittle)
What is the fraction of ferrite
for this eutectoid alloy?
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Microstructure of hypoeutectoid steel


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Dr. Shashank Shekhar

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Microstructure of hypereutectoid steel


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Microstructures of (a) Hypoeutectoid


steel (ferrite + pearlite) (b) Eutectoid
steel (c) Hypereutectoid steel (pearlite
with network of cementite)

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Microstructure of steel with C < 0.022


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In this steel content is less than


T3
T4

T5

0.022 wt % so transformation
begins at temperature on
intersection of NM (T3)
Transformation gets completed
by T4, much earlier than for
hypoeutectoid
No change until T5
Below T5, excess carbon gets
rejected in the form of Fe3C
In most practical cases, since
cooling is not slow enough,
microstructure remains 100%
ferrite

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Cast Iron
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Cast Iron, as defined earlier, has C concentration

greater than 2.11 % and less than 6.7%


Cast iron can be further subdivided into two
categories
White cast iron: carbon is present in the form of
cementite
Grey cast iron : carbon is present in the free form as
graphite

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Cast Iron
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Grey cast iron : carbon is present in the free form as

graphite

Contains Si (1 to 3 %) which causes formation of graphite


flakes distributed throughout the cast product upon
solidification
Presence of graphite gives a grey color to the fractured surface
Good vibration damping because of dispersion of graphite
flakes
Internal lubricating qualities which make it machinable
Products made from gray cast iron include automotive engine
blocks and heads, machine tool bases
When chemically treated to form spheroids rather than flakes,
we end up with ductile iron. It is stronger and more ductile
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Cast Iron
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White cast iron: carbon is present in the form of

cementite

Contains 0.5 to 2% Si and lower C content


Formed by rapid cooling of the molten metal
Its hard, brittle and excellent wear resistance
Applications include railway brake shoes
When cast iron is heat treated to separate carbon out of
solution and form graphite, resulting metal is called malleable
(upto 20%)
Malleable cast iron is utilized for pipe fitting and flanges

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Microstructures of eutectic cast Iron


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0.18

On solidification,

0.10

2.11

0.77

0.008 at RT

ledeburite is formed
On further cooling,
excess carbon comes
out as cementite from
eutectic austenite
At 727 C, eutectic
austenite would
contain 0.77 % C and
would decompose
into pearlite
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Microstructures of hypoeutectic cast Iron


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0.18

In this case, at

0.10

2.11

0.77

0.008 at RT

temperature just below


1147 C, consists of
proeutectic austenite
and ledeburite
On further cooling,
excess carbon comes
out as cementite from
proeutectic and eutectic
austenite
At 727 C, both eutectic
and proeutectic
austenite would contain
0.77 % C and would
decompose into pearlite
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Microstructures of hypereutectic cast Iron


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0.18

In this case, at

0.10

2.11

0.77

0.008 at RT

temperature just
below 1147 C, consists
of proeutectic
cementite and
ledeburite
On further cooling,
excess carbon comes
out as proeutectoid
cementite from
eutectic austenite
At 727 C, eutectic
austenite would
decompose into
pearlite
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Microstructures of (a) Hypoeutectic steel


(ledeburite + pearlite +cementite) (b)
Eutectic steel (ledeburite) (c)
Hypereutectic steel (ledeburite + primary
cementite)

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Heat Treatment by Rajan, Sharma and Sharma

Effect of alloying elements on Iron-Iron carbide


phase diagram
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Steel consists of several other alloying elements

Cr: improves strength, hardness, wear resistance, hot hardness,


hardenability. In significant proportions, Cr improves corrosion
resistance
Mn: improves the strength and hardness of steel
Mo: increases toughness and hot hardness. Also provides
hardenability and wear resistance
Ni: improves strength and toughness. In significant amounts, it
improves corrosion resistance
V: grain refiner and hence improves strength and toughness

Some alloying elements affect the relative stabilities of

alpha and gamma iron and as such are grouped as ferrite


stabilizers or austenite stabilizers
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Effect of alloying elements on Iron-Iron carbide


phase diagram
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Cr is also a Ferrite Stabilizer


Other elements which tend to stabilize
ferrite are W, Mo, V and Si
These elements are more soluble in phase than in -phase
Most of these elements are BCC
They decrease the amount of carbon
present in the gamma-iron and thus
favor formation of larger quantity of
free carbide
Reduce the austenite region by
lowering A4 point and raising A3 point
For Cr > 12.8%, austenite phase
completely disappeare and -ferrite
and -ferrite merge
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Heat Treatment by Rajan, Sharma and Sharma

Effect of Chromium (Ferrite Stabilizer)


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Heat Treatment by Rajan, Sharma and Sharma

Effect of alloying elements on Iron-Iron carbide


phase diagram
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Ni is also a Austenite Stabilizer


Other elements which tend to
stabilize austenite are Mn and Cu
These elements are more soluble
in gamma-phase than in alphaphase
Most of these elements are FCC
Carbon also has stabilizing effect
(at HT)
Reduce the austenite region by
raising A4 point and lowering A3
point
These elements can make it stable
even at room temperature
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Heat Treatment by Rajan, Sharma and Sharma

Effect of Nickel (austenite stabilizer)


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Heat Treatment by Rajan, Sharma and Sharma

Phases and Microstructure


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Microstructure
of annealed mild
steel (0.1% C)

Microstructure of annealed SS316L


Dr. Shashank Shekhar

Microstructure of annealed duplex steel

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Different grades and their applications


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(a) plain carbon steels

Low-C: automobile sheet metal


Medium-C : engine parts (crank-shaft)
High-C: springs, blades

(b) low alloy steels:

Various automotive components

(c) stainless steels

Austenitic: chemical & food processing equipment


Ferritic: kitchen utensils to jet engine components
Martensitic: cutlery, surgical instruments

(d) tool steels:

high speed tool, shock-resistant tools, die


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Different grades and their applications


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Dual-phase steel (ferrite + martensite):


Automotive structural parts, longitudinal beams
Duplex stainless steel (austenite + ferrite):
Heat exchangers, turbocharger pumps

Precipitation hardening stainless stee:


Aerospace and nuclear application
Gray cast iron
Automotive engine blocks and heads, machine tool bases
White cast iron
pipe fitting and flanges
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Stainless Steel
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Dr. Shashank Shekhar

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Fundamentals of Modern Manufacturing by Groover

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Changing only the C


concentration, itself has
substantial change on the
microstructure and properties of
steel

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Fundamentals of Modern Manufacturing by Groover

Phase transformations

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Phase diagram only tells


us about the
equilibrium phase. It
does not tell us about
the non-equilibrium
phases

Dr. Shashank Shekhar

Knowledge Incubation for TEQIP IIT Kanpur

Univ. of Tennessee Handout for MSE300

37

Solid Lines are Diffusional


Dotted is Diffusionless

Dr. Shashank Shekhar

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What is Martensite?
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Martensite forms when

austenite is rapidly cooled


(quenched) to room T.
Martensite is metastable can persist indefinitely at
room temperature, but will
transform to equilibrium
phases on annealing at an
elevated temperature.
Its a Non Equilibrium
Phase: Does not appear on
Phase Diagram
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What is Bainite?
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Upper bainite consists of

needles of ferrites
separated by long
cementite particles

It occurs in the T ~300 540C

Lower bainite consists of

thin plates of ferrite


containing very fine rods
or blades of cementites

It occurs in T~200-300C
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Bainite
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For T~300-450C, upper bainite


consists of needles of ferrite
separated by long cementite particles

For T~200-300 C, lower bainite consists


of thin plates of ferrite containing very
fine rods or blades of cementites

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Time-temperature
path to obtain
combination of
microstructures

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slide borrowed from Dr. Swati Sharma


Dr. Shashank Shekhar

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