An In Situ Synchrotron Dilatometry and Atomistic Study of Martensite and Carbide Formation during Partitioning and Tempering

Materials (Basel). 2021 Jul 9;14(14):3849. doi: 10.3390/ma14143849.


Precipitation hardened and tempered martensitic-ferritic steels (TMFSs) are used in many areas of our daily lives as tools, components in power generation industries, or in the oil and gas (O&G) industry for creep and corrosion resistance. In addition to the metallurgical and forging processes, the unique properties of the materials in service are determined by the quality heat treatment (HT). By performing a quenching and partitioning HT during an in situ high energy synchrotron radiation experiment in a dilatometer, the evolution of retained austenite, martensite laths, dislocations, and carbides was characterized in detail. Atomic-scale studies on a specimen with the same HT subjected to a laser scanning confocal microscope show how dislocations facilitate cloud formation around carbides. These clouds have a discrete build-up, and thermodynamic calculations and density functional theory explain their stability.

Keywords: atomistic study; carbide formation; density functional theory; high-resolution transmission electron microscopy; in-situ synchrotron study; martensite; partitioning and tempering; quenching and partitioning heat treatment; reconstructive ferrite; stainless steel.