Characterization of a New Fe-C-Mn-Si-Cr Bearing Alloy: Tempered Martensite Embrittlement Susceptibility
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Bearing steels containing 1% C and 1.5% Cr have been the usual material of choice for machine components submitted to rolling and contact fatigue, for more than a century. As a rule these steels are quenched from the intercritical gamma + carbide region and tempered at low temperatures (less than 250 °C), in order to retain the high hardness of the martensite matrix and avoid the tempered martensite embrittlement (TME) phenomena, which compromise the toughness of steels tempered at higher temperatures. A new high Si alloy was developed for bearing applications. The inhibiting and/or retarding effect of Si on the kinetics of cementite precipitation leads to a higher temperature of TME occurrence, allowing the tempering of the components at a higher temperature, thus increasing the toughness, without sacrificing the high hardness. The purpose of this work was to confirm the TME resistance of the new alloy. In this work, impact tests result for commercial SAE/AISI 52100 (0.25% Si) and for a modified 52100 containing 1.74% Si, were compared. No evidence of TME was detected on the Si-modified steel.
Keywordsalloy embrittlement martensite tempering
The authors thank Bardella SA Mechanical Industries, University of São Paulo, NSK do Brazil, Thyssenkrupp M. Campo Limpo and the partial support from CNPq (National Research Council).
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