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Title: Modelling of microstructure development in silicon-containing bainitic free-machining steels
Author: Guo, Lei
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 014X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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This research aims to model the microstructure development of Si-containing bainitic free-machining steel, including allotriomorphic ferrite, idiomorphic ferrite, pearlite, Widmanstatten ferrite, bainite and martensite. The effect of recalescence has been included to give a better estimation of the cooling curve under natural cooling conditions. A model for estimating retained austenite size distribution in the carbide-free bainitic microstructure has been developed. Manganese sulphide particles are used in the free-machining steel to break chips during machining; its effect on the prior austenite grain size has been investigated, taking account of the sulphide shape. The theories of all the major solid state phase transformations involved in steel are reviewed in chapter 2. The theory of the simultaneous transformation model is presented in chapter 3.uu A recalescence model dealing with the heat of reaction has been developed in chapter 5 for bar-shaped products. The model is based on the integration of a heat transfer model, considering latent heat generation, into the simultaneous transformation framework. It has been found that latent heat can greatly affect the transformation, especially in the case of pearlite and Widmanstatten ferrite. Chapter 6 presents the model for estimating the size distribution of retained austenite regions. The model builds on the random division of an austenite grain by bainite sheaves, which means the sizes of the two new compartments generated by the division of an austenite grain by a bainite sheaf are allocated randomly. The next compartment to be divided is also chosen at random. Good agreement between prediction and experiment has been achieved for high carbon carbide-free bainitic microstructures. The transition temperature from upper to lower bainite is modelled in chapter 7. The model compares the time required for decarburising a supersaturated bainitic ferrite platelet and that for cementite precipitation within the ferrite platelet. Manganese, silicon and chromium are considered in the model. It is suggested that carbon and manganese favour lower bainite, whereas silicon promotes upper bainite. The effect of manganese sulphide particles on austenite grain boundary motion has been studied in chapter 8. These rod-shaped particles span many austenite grains; the result shows that the long rod-shaped particles are more effective in pinning the austenite grain boundary than spheres of the same volume, or even strings of identical spheres with the same total volume. Experimental work is presented in chapters 9 and 10. In situ synchrotron X-ray study of the bainite transformation reveals that the distribution of carbon in the residual austenite becomes heterogeneous as transformation progresses. Low carbon regions transform preferentially into martensite during cooling after isothermal bainite transformation. The partitioning of carbon was found to lag behind the bainite transformation; more time is needed as the transformation temperature is reduced. Tetragonality was not observed in either the bainitic ferrite or martensite, because the carbon content of the alloy is relatively low, and the Zener ordering temperature is below the bainite and martensite transformation temperature. No significant difference was observed in the kinetics of bainite transformation between the high sulphur and low sulphur steel.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Swiss Steel AG
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: bainite transformation kinetics ; In situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction ; Free-machining steels ; modelling of phase transformation kinetics