Isothermal decomposition of carbon and nitrogen-enriched austenite in 23MnCrMo5 low-alloy steel

Abstract : The industrial importance of carbonitriding is owed to the exceptional wear and fatigue resistance it imparts to treated steel parts. This resistance is related to microstructural changes occurring during the enrichment treatment and upon cooling. Here, the effects of interstitial contents, in particular nitrogen, and transformation temperature were investigated in 23MnCrMo5 steel. Samples were homogeneously enriched in the austenitic phase and the isothermal transformation of the enriched austenite between 750 °C and 600 °C was studied. CrN was found to precipitate during the enrichment treatment. During subsequent isothermal holding, CrN precipitate as fine platelets in nitrogen containing samples. At equal carbon content, ferrite formed faster and in finer grains in presence of nitrogen. Preexisting CrN facilitate ferrite nucleation resulting in more numerous ferrite grains. The intense nitride precipitation is the main origin for enhanced hardness in nitrogen-enriched alloys. The exact mechanism leading to the observed microstructures could not be determined and remains under investigation. In particular, the high nitrogen supersaturation of ferrite required to produce the observed fraction of CrN has to be explained.
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H.P. van Landeghem, S. Catteau, J. Teixeira, J. Dulcy, M. Dehmas, et al.. Isothermal decomposition of carbon and nitrogen-enriched austenite in 23MnCrMo5 low-alloy steel. Acta Materialia, Elsevier, 2018, 148, pp.363-373. ⟨10.1016/j.actamat.2018.02.008⟩. ⟨hal-01740990⟩

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