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Effects of destabilization and tempering on microstructure and mechanical properties of a hypereutectic high-chromium cast iron

Abstract

The components made out of hypereutectic high-chromium cast iron (HCCI), featured with high abrasion resistance and hardness, are usually subjected to destabilization treatment before use, to improve their hardness and wear resistance by destabilizing the retained austenite which transforms to martensite. This study investigates the effects of destabilization and tempering heat treatment on the microstructure and mechanical properties of an HCCI with and without modification of primary carbides. For the unmodified HCCI, the destabilization simultaneously increased both hardness and the transverse rupture strength (TRS). Increasing the destabilization temperature from 970 to 1090 °C led to a marginal decrease in hardness and slight increase in TRS. Destabilization at 1090 °C increased the transverse rupture strength (TRS) by 54% compared to the as-cast HCCI without reduction in wear resistance due to the coarsening of the secondary carbides. In addition, tempering within a temperature range from 200 to 280 °C after destabilization at 1090 °C led to a slight decrease in hardness, but an increase in TRS and wear resistance. Further increasing the tempering temperature to 310, 340 and 400 °C did not vary the properties. Tempering at 280 °C after destabilization at 1090 °C enabled more than 85% increase in TRS compared to the as-cast HCCI. The influence of destabilization temperature on the TiB2-modified HCCI is similar to the unmodified alloy. But, tempering after destabilization at 1090 °C decreased both hardness and TRS without significant variation of wear resistance even though a TRS peak was obtained at 310 °C tempering. Hence, to achieve the best performance an optimized heat treatment for the unmodified HCCI is destabilization at 1090 °C followed by tempering at 280 °C. For the TiB2-modified HCCI, tempering is not needed. Rationalizations of the mechanical properties are also discussed in terms of microstructure.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are very grateful to Australia Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre program (IC160100036) for funding support. The authors would also like to thank Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility at the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis (CMM) at The University of Queensland for the scientific and technical assistance. Abhi-Shek Jain would like to acknowledge the financial support of UQ Research Training Scholarship.

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Jain, AS., Mustafa, M.I., Sazili, M.I.I.M. et al. Effects of destabilization and tempering on microstructure and mechanical properties of a hypereutectic high-chromium cast iron. J Mater Sci 57, 15581–15597 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-022-07583-0

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