Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 2578–2587 | Cite as

Phase-specific properties in a low-alloyed TRIP steel investigated using correlative nanoindentation measurements and electron microscopy

  • Zhiping XiongEmail author
  • Ahmed A. Saleh
  • Gilberto Casillas
  • Shaogang Cui
  • Elena V. Pereloma
Metals & corrosion


Nanoindentation measurements of polygonal ferrite (PF), bainitic ferrite (BF) lath, ferrite in granular bainite (GB) and retained austenite (RA) in a low-alloyed multi-phase transformation-induced plasticity steel were carried out in conjunction with electron backscattering diffraction and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). PF returned the lowest hardness followed by ferrite in GB, BF lath and RA. Dislocation glide and austenite-to-martensite transformation can be correlated with the first and second pop-in observed in the load–displacement curve, respectively. The martensite transformation induced by nanoindentation was demonstrated via correlative STEM. Film RA generally shows a higher stability than blocky RA, associated with a larger average onset load for martensite transformation in the former. It is noted that some ferrite in GB had similar hardness to BF lath and some blocky RA grains in GB showed a similar stability to that of film RA between BF lath, which can be attributed to a higher carbon content in GB due to chemical inhomogeneity.



ZPX is thankful to the “Beijing Institute of Technology Research Fund Program for Young Scholars” for financial support of his work. The FEI Helios NanoLab G3 CX, JEOL JSM-7001F FEG-SEM and JEOL JEM-ARM200F were funded by the Australian Research Council (LE160100063, LE0882613 and LE120100104, respectively). The authors thank Dr. Hongtao Zhu, University of Wollongong, for the access to ultra-microindentation system.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Materials Science and EngineeringBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronic EngineeringUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  3. 3.Electron Microscopy CentreUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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