Significance of epitaxial ferrite formation on phase transformation kinetics in quenching and partitioning steels: modeling and experiment

  • Fei Peng
  • Yunbo XuEmail author
  • Dingting Han
  • Xingli Gu
Metals & corrosion


Experimental and simulation methods were applied to analyze the transformation kinetics of epitaxial ferrite (EF) formed during a continuous cooling process and relevant carbon content heterogeneity in a low-carbon quenching and partitioning steel, with an emphasis on the influence of austenite carbon heterogeneity issued from EF formation on subsequent martensite and bainite transformation behaviors. It revealed that EF transformation possessed a kinetic curve with sigmoid shape and accelerated with decreasing cooling rate. With EF/γ interface under negligible partition local equilibrium condition in Dictra simulation, the simulation EF transformation kinetics can reproduce the experimental results well and the partial inheritance of Mn and Si from austenite into EF was also predicted. Furthermore, martensite transformation behaviors (one-stage or two-stage transformation) significantly depended on cooling rate and were explained by the austenite carbon heterogeneity issued from EF formation. The increase in initial martensite fraction with elevating cooling rate accelerated the subsequent bainite transformation and was favorable to austenite retention as well.



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51674080, U1260204 and 51174059) and National Key R&D Program of China (Nos. 2017YFB0304105, 2017YFB0304400).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors listed declared that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Edmonds DV, He K, Rizzo FC, Cooman BCD, Matlock DK, Speer JG (2006) Quenching and partitioning martensite: a novel steel heat treatment. Mater Sci Eng A 438(24):25–34Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tan X, Xu Y, Yang X, Wu D (2014) Microstructure–properties relationship in a one-step quenched and partitioned steel. Mater Sci Eng A 589(2):101–111Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Speer JG, Matlock DK, Cooman BCD, Schroth JG (2003) Carbon partitioning into austenite after martensite transformation. Acta Mater 51(9):2611–2622Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Clarke AJ, Speer JG, Miller MK, Hackenberg RE, Edmonds DV, Matlock DK, Rizzo FC, Clarke KD, De ME (2008) Carbon partitioning to austenite from martensite or bainite during the quench and partition (Q&P) process: a critical assessment. Acta Mater 56(1):16–22Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Santofimia MJ, Zhao L, Petrov R, Sietsma J (2008) Characterization of the microstructure obtained by the quenching and partitioning process in a low-carbon steel. Mater Charact 59(12):1758–1764Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Silva EPD, Xu W, Föjer C, Houbaert Y, Sietsma J, Petrov RH (2014) Phase transformations during the decomposition of austenite below Ms in a low-carbon steel. Mater Charact 95(3):85–93Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Santofimia MJ, Zhao L, Sietsma J (2009) Microstructural evolution of a low-carbon steel during application of quenching and partitioning heat treatments after partial austenitization. Metall Mater Trans A 40(1):46–57Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Yan S, Liu X, Liu WJ, Liang T, Zhang B, Liu L, Zhao Y (2017) Comparative study on microstructure and mechanical properties of a C–Mn–Si steel treated by quenching and partitioning (Q&P) processes after a full and intercritical austenitization. Mater Sci Eng A 684:261–269Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tan X, Xu Y, Ponge D, Yang X, Hu Z, Peng F, Ju X, Wu D, Raabe D (2016) Effect of intercritical deformation on microstructure and mechanical properties of a low-silicon aluminum-added hot-rolled directly quenched and partitioned steel. Mater Sci Eng A 656:200–215Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Movahed P, Kolahgar S, Marashi SPH, Pouranvari M, Parvin N (2009) The effect of intercritical heat treatment temperature on the tensile properties and work hardening behavior of ferrite-martensite dual phase steel sheets. Mater Sci Eng A 518(1):1–6Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Samdan W, Maulud H (2014) Effect of intercritical annealing temperature and holding time on microstructure and mechanical properties of dual phase low carbon steel. Appl Mech Mater 493(4):721–726Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zaefferer S, Ohlert J, Bleck W (2004) A study of microstructure, transformation mechanisms and correlation between microstructure and mechanical properties of a low alloyed TRIP steel. Acta Mater 52(9):2765–2778Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gomez M, Isaac GC, Deardo AJ (2010) The role of new ferrite on retained austenite stabilization in Al-TRIP steels. ISIJ Int 50(1):139–146Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Santofimia MJ, Zhao L, Sietsma J (2011) Overview of mechanisms involved during the quenching and partitioning process in steels. Metall Mater Trans A 42(12):3620–3626Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ghosh G, Olson GB (2001) Simulation of paraequilibrium growth in multicomponent systems. Metall Mater Trans A 32(3):455–467Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Santofimia MJ, Kwakernaak C, Sloof WG, Zhao L, Sietsma J (2010) Experimental study of the distribution of alloying elements after the formation of epitaxial ferrite upon cooling in a low-carbon steel. Mater Charact 61(10):937–942Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Toji Y, Yamashita T, Nakajima K, Okuda K, Matsuda H, Hasegawa K, Seto K (2011) Effect of Mn partitioning during intercritical annealing on following γ → α transformation and resultant mechanical properties of cold-rolled dual phase steels. ISIJ Int 51(5):818–825Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chen H, Gamsjäger E, Schider S, Khanbareh H, Zwaag SVD (2013) In situ observation of austenite–ferrite interface migration in a lean Mn steel during cyclic partial phase transformations. Acta Mater 61(7):2414–2424Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Peng F, Xu Y, Gu X, Wang Y, Liu X, Li J (2018) The relationships of microstructure-mechanical properties in quenching and partitioning (Q&P) steel accompanied with microalloyed carbide precipitation. Mater Sci Eng A 723(723):247–258Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kumar A, Mcculloch C, Hawbolt EB, Samarasekera IV (2014) Modelling thermal and microstructural evolution on runout table of hot strip mill. Metal Sci J 7(4):360–368Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Söhnel O, Mullin JW (1988) Interpretation of crystallization induction periods. J Colloid Interface Sci 123(1):43–50Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sherman DH, Cross SM, Kim S, Grandjean F, Long GJ, Miller MK (2007) Characterization of the carbon and retained austenite distributions in martensitic medium carbon, high silicon steel. Metall Mater Trans A 38(8):1698–1711Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Roberts CS (1953) Effect of carbon on the volume fractions and lattice parameters of retained austenite and martensite. JOM 5(2):203–204Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mahieu J, Cooman BCD, Maki J (2002) Phase transformation and mechanical properties of Si-free CMnAl transformation-induced plasticity-aided steel. Metall Mater Trans A 33(8):2573–2580Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Li YJ, Kang J, Zhang WN, Liu D, Wang XH, Yuan G (2018) A novel phase transition behavior during dynamic partitioning and analysis of retained austenite in quenched and partitioned steels. Mater Sci Eng A 710:181–191Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Koistinen DP, Marburger RE (1959) A general equation prescribing the extent of the austenite-martensite transformation in pure iron-carbon alloys and plain carbon steels. Acta Metall 7:59–60Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Zhu K, Chen H, Masse JP, Bouaziz O, Gachet G (2013) The effect of prior ferrite formation on bainite and martensite transformation kinetics in advanced high-strength steels. Acta Mater 61(16):6025–6036Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hajyakbary F, Sietsma J, Miyamoto G, Furuhara T, Santofimia MJ (2016) Interaction of carbon partitioning, carbide precipitation and bainite formation during the Q&P process in a low C steel. Acta Mater 104:72–83Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Quidort D, Brechet YJM (2001) Isothermal growth kinetics of bainite in 0.5% C steels. Acta Mater 49(20):4161–4170Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kawata H, Hayashi K, Sugiura N, Yoshinaga N, Takahashi M (2010) Effect of martensite in initial structure on bainite transformation. Mater Sci Forum 638–642:3307–3312Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Xiong ZP, Saleh AA, Marceau RKW, Taylor AS, Stanford NE, Kostryzhev AG, Pereloma EV (2017) Site-specific atomic-scale characterisation of retained austenite in a strip cast TRIP steel. Acta Mater 134:1–15Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kim S, Lee J, Barlat F, Lee MG (2016) Transformation kinetics and density models of quenching and partitioning (Q&P) steels. Acta Mater 109:394–404Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Bohemen SMCV, Sietsma J (2008) Modeling of isothermal bainite formation based on the nucleation kinetics. Int J Mater Res 99(7):739–747Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lee SJ, Van Tyne CJ (2012) A kinetics model for martensite transformation in plain carbon and low-alloyed steels. Metal Mater Trans A 43(2):422–427Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ruhl RC, Cohen M (1969) Splat quenching of iron-carbon alloys. Trans Metall Soc AIME 245(2):241–251Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The State Key Laboratory of Rolling and AutomationNortheastern UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations