Metallurgical investigation into the causes of premature failure of high-carbon steel wire rods during hot rolling
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Wire rods of high-carbon steel, in sizes ranging between 5.5 and 14 mm, are normally produced from continuously cast billets by hot rolling in a wire rod mill. These wire rods are usually supplied to wire drawing plants in either the hot rolled or the controlled-cooled condition. The microstructure of the hot rolled wire rods is a coarse lamellar pearlite and is unsuitable for large reductions by cold drawing. In contrast, the microstructure of controlled-cooled wire rods is a relatively fine pearlite, developed as a consequence of in-line water and forced-air cooling, and is suitable for large reductions by cold drawing. Although wire rod breakages in modern-day mills are comparatively rare, they nonetheless may take place due to a variety of factors. The failure of wire rods, hot rolled or controlled cooled, may occur as a result of improper rolling schedule, cobbles, sudden mill stoppages and/or accelerations, and processing inadequacies that lead to the formation of inappropriate microstructures. A comprehensive metallurgical investigation may therefore be necessary to discover the genesis of wire rod breakages during rolling and/or finish cooling operations.
This paper focuses on the microstructural causes of breakage of controlled-cooled high-carbon steel wire rods during hot rolling and attributes most failures to the formation of hard martensite layers that facilitated crack generation.
Keywordscontrolled cooling martensite steel wire rod wire rod breakage
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