Design, Preparation and Properties of High Performance Steels

A special issue of Metals (ISSN 2075-4701).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 July 2024 | Viewed by 6639

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Collaborative Innovation Center of Steel Technology, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
Interests: steels; microstructure; mechanical properties; machine learning

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Guest Editor
Bao Steel-SJTU Joint Research Center of Future Steels, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
Interests: steels; material design; mechanical behavior

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Steel is the workhorse of our infrastructure with widest application scope and largest consumption. Naturally, the development of steel has never ceased. Paricularly in the past hundred years, with the progress of modern physical metallurgy technology, the performances of steel have been greatly improved. Currently, for high-performance steels, not only have mechanical properties such as high strength and toughness been sought but more attention has also been focused on improving application performances, such as ensuring better weldability and formability, longer service life and higher safety. According to different engineering scenarios, more specific performance requirements are also proposed, such as crack resistance toughness of ship plate steel for super large container ships, seismic resistance and fire resistance performance of construction steel for modern buildings, impact resistance and wear resistance of tool and die steel for large stamping equipment, and corrosion and hydrogen induced cracking resistance of steel for tubular goods used in oilfields with severe corrosive environment, among others. The development of high-performance steel is inseparable from the support of physical metallurgy theory. The design of alloy elements not only considers the effect of solid solution and precipitation but also the nonequilibrium distribution and coupling effects between multi-alloying elements. The microstructure design has developed from the simple phase type to multi-phase and multi-scale regulation. The manufacture of steels has also become increasing complex, necessitating a narrow process window. It is believed that the continuous innovation of physical metallurgy theory and the continuous progress of industrial technology and equipment will undoubtedly promote the improvement of steel performances.

In this Special Issue, we welcome the articles that propose novel designs of alloying and processing to achieve high performance. Here, the term ‘high performance’ is not limited to a single outstanding property but also includes excellent comprehensive performances. Research works with bright engineering application prospects are particularly welcomed. We sincerely look forward to your contribution.

Dr. Xiucheng Li
Dr. Shilong Liu
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • high-performance steels
  • strength
  • toughness
  • ductility
  • corrosion
  • wear resistance
  • microstructure
  • alloying
  • weldability

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 4740 KiB  
Article
Effect of Si Content on Microstructure and Properties of Low-Carbon Medium-Manganese Steel after Intercritical Heat Treatment
by Zihan Hu and Hanguang Fu
Metals 2024, 14(6), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/met14060675 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 300
Abstract
The microstructure and mechanical properties of three kinds of low-carbon medium-manganese steels with different Si contents under an intercritical heat treatment process were studied. The results show that the microstructure of the test forged steel is mainly composed of ferrite and pearlite. After [...] Read more.
The microstructure and mechanical properties of three kinds of low-carbon medium-manganese steels with different Si contents under an intercritical heat treatment process were studied. The results show that the microstructure of the test forged steel is mainly composed of ferrite and pearlite. After 900 °C complete austenitizing quenching + 720 °C intercritical quenching, the microstructure of the test steel is mainly composed of ferrite and martensite. With the increase in Si content, the microstructure becomes finer and more uniform. The microstructure of the test steel after 900 °C complete austenitizing quenching + 720 °C intercritical quenching + 680 °C intercritical tempering is dominated by ferrite and tempered martensite, with a small amount of retained austenite and cementite. As the Si content increases, the boundaries between ferrite and tempered martensite become more clear. The tensile strength and hardness of the test steel increase with the increase in Si content, while the elongation first increases and then decreases; the comprehensive performance of the test steel is the best when the Si content is 0.685 wt. %, with a tensile strength of 726 MPa, a yield ratio of only 0.65, the highest elongation of 30.5%, and the highest strong plastic product of 22,143 MPa.%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Preparation and Properties of High Performance Steels)
21 pages, 41754 KiB  
Article
Study on Fracture Behavior and Toughening Mechanisms of Ultra-High-Strength Pipeline Steel
by Ba Li, Xiaoshun Zhou, Shujun Jia, Xiaoping Chen, Song Fu, Dongliang Zhao, Haonan Zhang and Jie Guo
Metals 2024, 14(6), 666; https://doi.org/10.3390/met14060666 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 357
Abstract
In this paper, a series of low-temperature CVN (Charpy V-notch impact test) and DWTT (drop-weight tear test) experiments were carried out to deal with the intensifying contradiction of strength and toughness of ultra-high-strength pipeline steel. The fracture behavior and toughening mechanisms of ultra-high-strength [...] Read more.
In this paper, a series of low-temperature CVN (Charpy V-notch impact test) and DWTT (drop-weight tear test) experiments were carried out to deal with the intensifying contradiction of strength and toughness of ultra-high-strength pipeline steel. The fracture behavior and toughening mechanisms of ultra-high-strength pipeline steel were investigated using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and backscattered electron diffraction systems. The results show that DWTT fractures in ultra-high-strength pipeline steel had a variety of unconventional morphological features compared to CVN fractures, including ridge protrusion in ductile fracture conditions and a large-size fracture platform in brittle fracture conditions. Therefore, DWTT fractures contained more information about the material fracturing process, and could better reflect the actual process of material fracturing. In ultra-high-strength pipeline steel, fine-grained granular bainite caused cracks to undergo large deflections or frequent small transitions, which consumed additional energy and improved toughness. In contrast, large-sized granular bainite, which consisted of low-angle grain boundaries, did not effectively prevent crack propagation when it encountered cracks, which was not conducive to improved toughness. Moreover, the M/A constituents in large-sized granular bainite aggregated, cracked, or fell off, which could easily lead to the formation of microcracks and was also detrimental to toughening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Preparation and Properties of High Performance Steels)
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9 pages, 15576 KiB  
Communication
Unraveling the Mechanism of Toughness Fluctuation in Ultra-High-Strength Casing from the Perspective of Crystallography
by Zhan Gao, Xiaoming Dong, Jieru Yu, Junjie Tang, Yishuang Yu, Liangliang Wei, Shilong Liu and Xuejun Jin
Metals 2024, 14(2), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/met14020208 - 7 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 821
Abstract
The microstructure and impact toughness in an ultra-high-strength casing were investigated, attempting to reveal the reason for toughness fluctuations along the casing in terms of crystallography. The morphological structures at the head of the casing are lath bainite, while those at the end [...] Read more.
The microstructure and impact toughness in an ultra-high-strength casing were investigated, attempting to reveal the reason for toughness fluctuations along the casing in terms of crystallography. The morphological structures at the head of the casing are lath bainite, while those at the end are granular bainite and lath bainite. The head exhibits a higher density of high-angle grain boundaries dominated by block boundaries and a higher impact toughness than the end, showing an inhomogeneous microstructure and causing toughness fluctuations in the casing. The higher density of block boundaries in the head resulted from weaker variant selection because of its higher cooling rate than the end. Therefore, the underlying reason for the toughness fluctuations lies in the varying densities of the block boundaries along the casing triggered by uneven cooling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Preparation and Properties of High Performance Steels)
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12 pages, 15265 KiB  
Article
Effect of a Gradient Temperature Rolling Process on the Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of the Center of Ultra-Heavy Plates
by Jinghua Cong, Jingxiao Zhao, Xuemin Wang and Zhongwen Wu
Metals 2024, 14(2), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/met14020199 - 6 Feb 2024
Viewed by 755
Abstract
As there is a small amount of deformation in the center during the rolling process of ultra-heavy plates, it is extremely easy to cause poor mechanical properties in the center. Increasing the deformation in the center is the most feasible method to eliminate [...] Read more.
As there is a small amount of deformation in the center during the rolling process of ultra-heavy plates, it is extremely easy to cause poor mechanical properties in the center. Increasing the deformation in the center is the most feasible method to eliminate the deformation effects in the cross-section of ultra-heavy plates. In this study, the gradient temperature rolling (GTR) process is compared with the traditional uniform temperature rolling (UTR) process. It is found that the GTR process can significantly increase the deformation in the center and thereby refine the grains. The room temperature tensile test and instrumented Charpy impact test are used to test the strength at room temperature and impact energy at low temperature. Combined with the obtained impact load/energy displacement curve, the deformation and damage process under impact load are analyzed. The microstructure morphology and impact fracture obtained by different rolling processes in the center are analyzed by experimental methods such as OM, SEM, EBSD, etc. The prior austenite grain (PAG) boundary morphology is analyzed and the densities of grain boundaries are statistically quantified. The results showed that the strength, plasticity, and low-temperature toughness of the GTR process are improved compared to the UTR process, with increased dislocation density in the center microstructure, the density of PAG boundaries, and the density of packet boundaries. The size of the PAG in the center is refined by ~49%, the density of PAG boundaries increased by ~140%, the density of high-angle packet boundaries increased by ~39%, and the density of low-angle packet boundaries increased by ~49%. The crack propagation in the instrumented Charpy impact test of the GTR process showed stable expansion, indicating a ductile fracture compared to the semi-brittle fracture of the UTR process. The densities of PAG boundaries and high-angle packet boundaries are the most important factors affecting the strength and low-temperature toughness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Preparation and Properties of High Performance Steels)
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15 pages, 12323 KiB  
Article
Study on the Effect of Niobium on the High Temperature Oxidation Resistance of Ferritic Stainless Steel
by En Zhu, Dianxiu Xia, Peidun Chen, Qing Han, Xuelin Wang, Zhiheng Liu and Kun Jiang
Metals 2024, 14(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/met14010025 - 25 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 867
Abstract
More and more cars are installing urea selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to solve the problem of exhaust emissions, which often operates at high temperatures in the exhaust system and is prone to failure of the exhaust pipe due to high-temperature oxidation. And [...] Read more.
More and more cars are installing urea selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to solve the problem of exhaust emissions, which often operates at high temperatures in the exhaust system and is prone to failure of the exhaust pipe due to high-temperature oxidation. And niobium containing ferritic stainless steel has been widely used in the manufacturing of automotive exhaust pipes. In order to extend the service life of ferrite stainless steel exhaust pipes, niobium plays a crucial role as an added alloying element. The solid solution and precipitation of niobium in ferritic stainless steel will give ferritic stainless steel more excellent high temperature resistance. The precipitation of Nb can change the organizational structure in steel and refine the grains. However, if the content is not properly controlled, large particles of (Nb, Ti) C will precipitate, which will reduce the high temperature oxidation resistance. In this paper, the high temperature oxidation behavior of two kinds of ferritic stainless steels with different Nb content at 700 °C, 800 °C and 900 °C was studied. The microstructure of the oxide film on the surface of the material, the thickness of the oxide layer on the cross section, the distribution of chemical composition, the existence form and distribution of Nb element were analyzed by SEM, EDS, XRD and TEM. The results show that the higher the niobium content, the better the high temperature oxidation resistance, and the higher the temperature, the more obvious the high temperature oxidation resistance of niobium. This is because the high Nb content steel is easy to precipitate NbN and other Nb-containing precipitates at the grain boundary, which is helpful to the high temperature resistance. In the case of less Nb content, its ability to generate (Nb, Ti) C precipitates and coarsen at high temperatures reduces its high-temperature resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Preparation and Properties of High Performance Steels)
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16 pages, 8550 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Various Stainless Steels Containing Gadolinium as Thermal Neutron Absorbing and Shielding Materials
by SeKwon Oh, Ji-Ho Ahn, Rockhoon Jung, Hyun-Jong Kim, Younghwan Chu, Dae Hyun Choi, Hyun Lee and Hyun-Do Jung
Metals 2024, 14(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/met14010016 - 22 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Developing next-generation thermal-neutron-shielding and -absorbing materials for the safe storage and transportation of spent nuclear fuel is a topic of active research in academia. Gadolinium (Gd) boasts superior neutron absorption capacity compared with other nuclei. Consequently, it has garnered significant attention as a [...] Read more.
Developing next-generation thermal-neutron-shielding and -absorbing materials for the safe storage and transportation of spent nuclear fuel is a topic of active research in academia. Gadolinium (Gd) boasts superior neutron absorption capacity compared with other nuclei. Consequently, it has garnered significant attention as a potential replacement for boron in spent nuclear fuel (SNF) applications. In this study, the austenitic stainless steels 304 and 316 and the duplex stainless steel 5A were reinforced with 2 wt.% of gadolinium to explore their thermal-neutron-absorbing efficiency. Their properties were then compared with commercial-grade borated stainless steel, as per ASTM standard A887. After the inclusion of Gd, both the yield strength and ultimate tensile strength of the alloys slightly increased, which was attributed to the evenly distributed Gd intermetallics within the matrix. However, the elongation rate was reduced. The Charpy impact absorption energy also decreased. The influence of the Gd intermetallic was further explored by examining the fractography. While the corrosion resistance of the alloy slightly diminished after the addition of Gd, its neutron absorption capacity demonstrated superior performance, especially when the Gd content was equivalent to that of boron. Although most properties of the experimental alloy deteriorated after the Gd addition, they still outperformed commercial borated stainless steel, suggesting that this alloy might be a promising candidate for SNF applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Preparation and Properties of High Performance Steels)
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11 pages, 5278 KiB  
Article
Effect of Double-Quenching on the Hardness and Toughness of a Wear-Resistant Steel
by Jingliang Wang, Rongtao Qian, Song Huang and Chengjia Shang
Metals 2023, 13(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/met13010061 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1628
Abstract
Martensitic/bainitic wear-resistant steels are widely used in civilian industry, where a good combination of strength and toughness is required. In the present study, a double-quenching process was applied and compared to the conventional single-quenching process. The microhardness and ductile–brittle transition temperature were measured, [...] Read more.
Martensitic/bainitic wear-resistant steels are widely used in civilian industry, where a good combination of strength and toughness is required. In the present study, a double-quenching process was applied and compared to the conventional single-quenching process. The microhardness and ductile–brittle transition temperature were measured, and the microstructure was characterized with scanning electron microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) technique. It was found that the double-quenching process refined the prior austenite grain size by 43% and simultaneously improved the toughness and hardness. The ductile-to-brittle transition temperature was decreased from −77 °C to −90 °C, and the hardness was increased by 8%. Based on the EBSD data, a detailed analysis of the grain boundary distribution was performed using a recently developed machine learning model. Unlike what was found in previous studies, for the studied wear-resistant steel, the refinement of the prior austenite grain did not increase the block boundary density while increasing the high-angle packet boundary density. As a result, the total density of the high-angle grain boundaries in the double-quenched specimen was not improved compared to the single-quenched specimen. Further inspection suggested that it is the prior austenite grain boundaries and high-angle packet boundaries that contribute to the hardness and toughness, and the key factors that determine their effectiveness are the high misorientation angle between the {110} slip planes and the high slip transmission factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Preparation and Properties of High Performance Steels)
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