, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 1686-1705
Date: 18 Nov 2012

Effect of Boron on the Isothermal Bainite Transformation

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The role of Boron on the isothermal bainitic transformation in low-C, lean-alloyed steel was investigated. B clearly affected both the transformation kinetics and the morphology of isothermally transformed bainite. The effect of B was more noticeable in the high-temperature range of the bainitic transformation. The microstructure of bainite formed at 773 K (500 °C) consisted of a bainitic ferrite matrix and the martensite/austenite constituent. While the martensite/austenite constituent had an elongated morphology in B-free steel, the martensite/austenite constituents in the B-added steel had a granular morphology. Two types of bainite unit nucleation were considered: the initial nuclei and the nuclei formed on previously formed units. Electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) analysis showed that the initial bainitic ferrite nuclei were formed at austenite grain boundaries with a Kurdjumov-Sachs (K-S) crystallographic orientation relationship with respect to one of the neighboring austenite grains, revealing the importance of interfacial energy reduction in the nucleation stage. The nuclei of the bainite transformation in the B-added steel were confined to the austenite grain interior, and the bainitic ferrite nuclei had crystallographic orientations limited to K-S variants within the same Bain variant. The characteristic bainite microstructure in B-added steel is due to the inhibition of the bainitic ferrite nucleation at austenite grain boundaries.

Manuscript submitted June 4, 2012.