Introduction to Materials Science, Chapter 11, Thermal Processing of Metal Alloys. Chapter 11 Thermal Processing of Metal Alloys

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1 Chapter 11 Thermal Processing of Metal Alloys Designer Alloys: Utilize heat treatments to design optimum microstructures and mechanical properties (strength, ductility, hardness.) Strength in steels correlates with how much martensite remains in the final structure Hardenability: The ability of a structure to transform to martensite Precipitation hardening Annealing, Stress Relief More on Heat Treatment of Steels Precipitation Hardening University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 1 Annealing Annealing - A heat treatment process in which a material is heated to an elevated temperature, allowed to dwell there for a set amount of time and then cooled with a controlled rate. Stages of annealing: Heating to required temperature Holding ( soaking ) at constant temperature Cooling The time at the high temperature (soaking time) is long enough to allow the desired transformation (diffusion, kinetics) to occur. Cooling is done slowly to avoid warping/cracking of due to the thermal gradients and thermo-elastic stresses within the or even cracking the metal piece. Purposes of annealing: Relieve internal stresses Increase ductility, toughness, softness Produce specific microstructure University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 2

2 Examples of Heat Treatment Process Annealing - used to revert effects of workhardening (by recovery and recrystallization) and to increase ductility. Heating is usually limited to avoid excessive grain growth and oxidation. Stress Relief Annealing used to eliminate/minimize stresses arising from o Plastic deformation during machining o Non-uniform cooling o Phase transformations between phases with different densities Stress relief annealing allows these stresses to relax. Annealing temperatures are relatively low so that useful effects of cold working are not eliminated. University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 3 Annealing of Fe-C Alloys (I) eutectoid point Lower critical temperature A 1 below which austenite (γ) does not exist Upper critical temperature lines, A 3 above which all material is austenite (γ) and A cm University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 4

3 Annealing of Fe-C Alloys (II) eutectoid point Normalizing: an annealing heat treatment just above the upper critical temperature to reduce the AVERAGE grain sizes (of pearlite and proeutectoid phase) and make more uniform size distributions. After complete transformation to austenite (austenitizing - γ) the treatment is completed by cooling to the required microstructure. University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 5 Annealing of Fe-C Alloys (III) eutectoid point Full annealing: austenizing (γ) and slow cooling (several hours). Produces coarse pearlite -large grains (and possible proeutectoid phase) that is relatively soft and ductile. Full annealing is used to soften pieces which have been hardened by plastic deformation, and which need to undergo subsequent machining/forming. Spheroidizing: prolonged heating just below the eutectoid temperature, which results in the soft spheroidite structure discussed in Sect This achieves maximum softness needed University in subsequent of Tennessee, forming Dept. of Materials operations. Science and Engineering 6

4 Heat Treatment of Steels Martensite has the strongest microstructure and can be made more ductile by tempering. Therefore, the optimum properties of quenched and tempered steel are realized if a high content of martensite is produced. Problem: It is difficult to maintain the same conditions throughout the entire volume of steel during cooling: the surface cools more quickly than interior, producing a range of microstructures throughout. The martensitic content, and the hardness, will drop from a high value at the surface to a lower value in the interior of the specimen. Production of uniform martensitic structure depends on composition quenching conditions size + shape of specimen University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 7 Martensite is the hardest / strongest and most brittle of the steel microstructures Hardness is a function of carbon content Hardening mechanism is solid solution hardening from interstitial C Enhance ductility by tempering. Anneal to equilibrium ferrite plus cementite phases. Formation by this route called tempered martensite Tempering - Hardness Brinell Hardness Number Martensite Tempered martensite (tempered at 371 C) Fine Pearlite University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 8 Rockwell Hardness, Scale C

5 Hardenability (I) Hardenability is the ability of the Fe-C alloy to be hardened by forming martensite. Hardenability is not hardness. It is a qualitative measure of the rate at which hardness decreases with distance from the surface because of decreased martensite content. High hardenability means the ability of the alloy to produce a high martensite content throughout the volume of specimen. Hardenability is measured by the Jominy end-quench test, performed for standard cylindrical specimen, standard austenitization conditions, and standard quenching conditions (jet of water at specific flow rate and temperature). University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 9 Hardenability (II) Jominy end-quench test of Hardenability The Hardenability Curve is the dependence of hardness on distance from the quenched end. University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 10

6 Hardenability (III) Hardenability Curve Less Martensite Quenched end cools most rapidly and contains most martensite Cooling rate decreases with distance from quenched end: greater C diffusion, more pearlite/bainite, lower hardness High hardenability means that the hardness curve is relatively flat. University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 11 Hardenability (IV) Alloying elements delay formation of pearlite, bainite : more martensite Can also define hardenability in terms of cooling rate (C/s) Alloys in figure above all have 0.40 wt% C, but have different additional alloying elements (see Callister F11.5) University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 12

7 Hardenability (V) Hardenability also generally increases with C content University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 13 Hardenability (VI) Influence of Quenching Medium, Specimen Size, and Geometry on Hardenability Quenching medium: Cooling is faster in water then oil, slow in air. Fast cooling brings the danger of warping and formation of cracks, since it is usually accompanied by large thermal gradients. The shape and size of the piece: Cooling rate depends upon extraction of heat to specimen surface. Thus the greater the ration of surface area to volume, the deeper the hardening effect. Spheres cool slowest, irregularly shaped objects fastest. Radial hardness profiles of cylindrical steel bars University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 14

8 Precipitation Hardening (I) Small inclusions of secondary phases strengthen material Lattice distortions around these secondary phases impede dislocation motion The precipitates form when the solubility limit is exceeded Precipitation hardening is also called age hardening because it involves the hardening of the material over a prolonged time. University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 15 Heat Treatment for Precipitation Hardening (II) Solution heat treatment: at T o, all the solute atoms A are dissolved to form a single-phase (α) solution. Rapid cooling across the solvus line to exceed the solubility limit. This leads to a metastable supersaturated solid solution at T 1. Equilibrium structure is α+β, but limited diffusion does not allow β to form. Precipitation heat treatment: the supersaturated solution is heated to T 2 where diffusion is appreciable - β phase starts to form as finely dispersed particles: aging. University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 16

9 Precipitation Hardening (III) k Solution treatment 100% k solid solution (retained upon quenching) Quench θ+k Equilibrium microstructure - coarse θ precipitates at k grain boundaries Time By quenching and then reheating an Al-Cu (4.5 wt%) alloy, a fine dispersion of precipitates form within the k grains. These precipitates are effective in hindering dislocation motion and consequently, increasing alloy hardness and strength. Known as precipitation or age hardening. University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 17 Heat Treatment for Precipitation Hardening (IV) Discs of Cu atoms 1 or 2 monolayers thick Lattice Distortions No Lattice Distortions University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 18

10 Precipitation Hardening (V) Strength and Ductility University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 19 Summary Make sure you understand language and concepts: Annealing Austenitizing Full annealing Hardenability Jominy end-quench test Overaging Precipitation hardening Precipitation heat treatment Process annealing Solution heat treatment Spheroidizing Stress relief University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 20

11 Reading for next class: Skip Chapter 12: Metal Alloys Chapter 13: Structure and Properties of Ceramics Crystal Structures Silicate Ceramics Carbon Imperfections in Ceramics Optional reading: Chapter 14: Applications and Processing of Ceramics Short review of glass/ceramics applications and processing ( ) Optional reading: University of Tennessee, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering 21

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