Model Fe-Al Steel with Exceptional Resistance to High Temperature Coarsening. Part I: Coarsening Mechanism and Particle Pinning Effects


The mechanism by which austenite particles coarsen in a delta-ferrite matrix was investigated in a model Al-containing steel. Special emphasis was placed on the effect of volume fraction on the coarsening kinetics as well as the ability of the particles to pin the growth of delta-ferrite grains. The specimens were heated to temperatures in the range of 1123 K to 1583 K (850 °C to 1305 °C) in the austenite plus delta-ferrite two-phase region and held for times between 5 minutes and 288 hours, followed by water quenching. When the reheating temperature was higher than 1473 K (1200 °C), the coarsening of austenite particles was found to evolve as t1/3, which is typical of volume diffusion-controlled behavior. For lower temperatures, the particle coarsening behavior followed t1/4 kinetics which is consistent with a grain boundary diffusion-controlled process. The observations were interpreted in terms of the modified Lifshitz–Slyozov–Wanger theory by considering multi-component diffusion, particle volume fraction, and the fact that this two-phase material is a non-ideal solid solution. Three types of interaction between particle coarsening and grain growth were observed. Grain growth was completely pinned when the particle pinning force was much larger than the driving force for grain growth. When the particle pinning force was comparable to the driving force for grain growth, the delta-ferrite grains were observed to grow at a rate which is controlled by the kinetics of coarsening of the austenite particles. Finally, when the particle pinning force was smaller than the driving force for grain growth, significant grain growth occurred but its rate was lower than that expected in the absence of particle pinning. The results point to an effective approach for controlling grain growth at high temperatures.


Materials Science and Engineering

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