The effects of metallurgical variables on the mechanical properties of high-chromium cast irons
The.use of high-chromium cast irons for abrasive wear resistance is restricted due to their poor fracture toughness properties. An.attempt was made to improve the fracture characteristics by altering the distribution, size and.shape of the eutectic carbide phase without sacrificing their excellent wear resistance. This was achieved by additions of molybdenum or tungsten followed by high temperature heat treatments. The absence of these alloying elements or replacement of them with vanadium or manganese did not show any significant effect and the continuous eutectic carbide morphology remained the same after application of high temperature heat treatments. The fracture characteristics of the alloys with these metallurgical variables were evaluated for both sharp-cracks and blunt notches. The results were used in conjunction with metallographic and fractographic observations to establish possible failure mechanisms. The fracture mechanism of the austenitic alloys was found to be controlled not only by the volume percent but was also greatly influenced by the size and distribution of the eutectic carbides. On the other hand, the fracture mechanism of martensitic alloys was independent of the eutectic carbide morphology. The uniformity of the secondary carbide precipitation during hardening heat treatments was shown to be a reason for consistant fracture toughness results being obtained with this series of alloys although their eutectic carbide morphologies were different. The collected data were applied to a model which incorporated the microstructural parameters and correlated them with the experimentally obtained valid stress intensity factors. The stress intensity coefficients of different short-bar fracture toughness test specimens were evaluated from analytical and experimental compliance studies. The.validity and applicability of this non-standard testing technique for determination of the fracture toughness of high-chromium cast irons were investigated. The results obtained correlated well with the valid results obtained from standard fracture toughness tests.