On the Three-Dimensional Microstructure of Martensite in Carbon Steels
The mechanical properties of high-performance steels are often reliant on the hard martensitic structure. It can either be the sole constituent e.g. in tool steels, or it can be part of a multi-phase structure as e.g. in dual-phase steels. It is well-known that the morphology of martensite changes from lath to plate martensite with increasing carbon content. The transition from lath to plate is however less known and in particular the three-dimensional (3D) aspects in the mixed lath and plate region require more work. Here the current view of the 3D microstructure of martensite in carbon steels is briefly reviewed and complemented by serial sectioning experiments using a focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM). The large martensite units in the Fe-1.2 mass% C steel investigated here are found to have one dominant growth direction, less transverse growth and very limited thickening. There is also evident transformation twinning parallel to the transverse direction. It is concluded that more 3D analysis is required to understand the 3D microstructure of martensite in the mixed lath and plate region and to verify the recently proposed 3D phase field models of martensite in steels.
KeywordsMartensite Carbon steels Serial sectioning Three-dimensional microstructure
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