Microstructural evolution and mechanical properties of a low-carbon quenching and partitioning steel after partial and full austenitization

Wan song Li, Hong ye Gao, Hideharu Nakashima, Satoshi Hata, Wen huai Tian

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10 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, low-carbon steel specimens were subjected to the quenching and partitioning process after being partially or fully austenitized to investigate their microstructural evolution and mechanical properties. According to the results of scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy observations, X-ray diffraction analysis, and tensile tests, upper bainite or tempered martensite appears successively in the microstructure with increasing austenitization temperature or increasing partitioning time. In the partially austenitized specimens, the retained austenite grains are carbon-enriched twice during the heat treatment, which can significantly stabilize the phases at room temperature. Furthermore, after partial austenitization, the specimen exhibits excellent elongation, with a maximum elongation of 37.1%. By contrast, after full austenitization, the specimens exhibit good ultimate tensile strength and high yield strength. In the case of a specimen with a yield strength of 969 MPa, the maximum value of the ultimate tensile strength reaches 1222 MPa. During the partitioning process, carbon partitioning and carbon homogenization within austenite affect interface migration. In addition, the volume fraction and grain size of retained austenite observed in the final microstructure will also be affected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-919
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Minerals, Metallurgy and Materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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