Low-temperature aging treatment at 323 K results in the dramatical increase in hardness in low-carbon ferritic steels quenched from 983 K, possibly caused by carbon clusters and/or fine ε-carbides. In this study, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis was carried out to characterize the change of the microstructure during the low-temperature aging treatment. Until the early stage of the peak hardness, the carbon clusters were formed homogeneously with zig-zag structures. At the latter stage of the peak hardness, it was found that the ε-carbides were partially precipitated within the carbon clusters, which suggested that the carbon clusters might have acted as the precursors of ε-carbides. In-situ tensile TEM observations showed that dislocation motions were free-glide type, and carbon clusters and fine-carbides interacted with dislocations via cutting-type. Dislocation interaction force was also evaluated, which suggested that the lattice misfit played as important role of the interaction mechanism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering