Multiscaling effects in low alloy TRIP steels
Low-alloy TRIP steels are a new class of steels with excellent combinations of strength and formability, which offer a unique field for the study of multiscale effects in materials, in the sense that experimental observations and models referring to different scale levels have to be combined, for the understanding and the design of these steels. In the present work, models involving multiscale physical quantities are reported, which regard prediction of the stability of retained austenite and of the kinetics of its mechanically-induced transformation to martensite, optimization of the heat-treatment stages necessary for austenite stabilization in the microstructure, as well as prediction of the mechanical behaviour of these steels under deformation. Austenite stability depends on chemical composition, austenite particle size, strength of the matrix and stress state, i.e. on factors ranging from the nano- to the macro-scale. The stability of retained austenite against mechanically-induced transformation to martensite is characterized by the ?? s M temperature, which can be derived as a function of the aforementioned multiscale factors by an appropriate model presented in this work. The kinetics of the mechanically-induced transformation of retained austenite to martensite are also dependent on multiscale factors, such as the population density of martensitic nucleation sites, the retained austenite particle size and the macroscopic level of plastic deformation. In the present work, a model describing the kinetics of this mechanically-induced transformation as a function of these factors is presented. Furthermore, the mechanical behaviour of TRIP steels also depends on the amount of retained austenite present in the microstructure, which is determined by the combinations of temperature and temporal duration of the heat-treatment stages undergone by the steel. Optimum amounts of retained austenite require optimization of the heat-treatment conditions. A physical model is presented in this work, which is based on the interactions between bainite and austenite during the heat-treatment of TRIP steels, which allows for the selection of treatment conditions leading to the maximization of retained austenite in the final microstructure. Finally, a constitutive micromechanical model is presented, which describes the mechanical behaviour of TRIP steels under deformation, taking into account the evolution of the microstructure during plastic deformation. This model is then used for the calculation of forming limit diagrams (FLD) for these complex steels, thus allowing for the optimization of stretch-forming and deep-drawing operations.
KeywordsCarbide Ferrite Austenite Martensite Ductility
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