Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
SANTOFIMIA, M.J.; VAN BOHEMEN, S.M.C. and SIETSMA, J.. Combining bainite and martensite in steel microstructures for light weight applications. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2013, vol.113, n.2, pp. 143-148. ISSN 2411-9717.
Multiphase microstructures in steel have been intensively studied in the past years, but combining non-equilibrium phases still offers a great potential for further development of these steel grades. Thus, improved combinations of mechanical properties can be obtained with microstructures formed by bainite or martensite, in combination with retained austenite. In particular, microstructures on the basis of carbon-depleted martensite and retained austenite can be produced by the very promising production process named quenching and partitioning (Q&P). Originally, the Q&P process aimed to avoid the formation of bainite during the heat treatment. However, the process does provide the possibility for (carbide-free) bainite formation during the partitioning step, i.e. in the presence of martensite. This article evaluates this approach, considering that the formation of bainite from austenite is strongly influenced by the preceding formation of martensite. Although the accelerating effect of the presence of martensite during bainite formation has been observed, it is not yet fully understood, and experimental and theoretical studies are being performed in order to come to a more effective exploitation of these processes for the formation of multiphase microstructures.
Keywords : quenching and partitioning; bainite; martensite.