Effect of heat treatment on the microstructure of a 2CrMoNiWV rotor steel
A wide range of experiments have been carried out on a 2CrMoNiWV low alloy steel to investigate the effect of various heat treatment conditions on microstructural change, alloy carbide transformation mechanism and mechanical properties. Two complete continuous cooling transformation (CCT) diagrams were constructed for this steel on the basis of experimental dilatometry thermal analysis, metallographic examination and current phase transformation theory. The significance of these two diagrams is in that they can be directly utilised in industrial practice as a reference during heat treatment for this material. Meanwhile it was confirmed that this 2CrMoNiWV steel can be transformed to a fully bainitic microstructure over a wide range of cooling rates and this feature proved this steel suitable for large diameter steam turbine rotor application. An innovative carbide extraction technique for the XRD identification of carbide phase has been developed. The detailed description of this new technique and its advantages are discussed in this thesis. The extensive work using TEM/EDX has set up essential "finger prints" for the quick examination of large amounts of individual carbide existing at various heat treated conditions. Simultaneous measurements and determinations were made on particle composition, morphological change, the type, amount and distribution of these carbide phases. Thus the sequence of carbide transformation for this 2CrMoNiWV steel during tempering has been established. The characteristic microstructures of various heat treated specimens were carefully examined and discussed. Theoretical thermodynamic equilibria predictions were calculated using MTDATA. A very good agreement was found between experimental results and theoretical predictions on those critical transformation temperatures and a good correlation of carbide evolution sequences was obtained. Based on experimental results and theoretical predictions, the role of tungsten in promoting creep resistance to the material is elucidated. The usefulness of equilibrium thermodynamic calculations using MTDATA in predicting the microstructural changes and carbide evolution has been demonstrated in this work, particularly the separate effect of composition on the stable carbide dispersion where a thermodynamic approach offers great benefits. A possibly optimised heat treatment route is suggested for the large diameter rotor forgings which involves austenitising at 980°C for 10 hours following by oil quenching and then tempering at 675°C for 20 hours following by air cooling. Some general conclusions are drawn from this study, especially with regard to the effect of heat treatment on the microstructure of this 2CrMoNiWV steel and suggestions for further work are made.