The concepts of oxide metallurgy and inclusion engineering can be utilized to improve the properties of low-alloy steels. These concepts aim at controlling the formation of intragranular ferrite (IGF), often a desirable microstructure providing good mechanical properties without the need for expensive alloying elements. IGF formation is stimulated to occur at non-metallic inclusions and form an arrangement of fine, interlocking ferrite grains. A method that has contributed significantly to investigations in this field lately is high-temperature confocal laser scanning microscopy (HT-CLSM). HT-CLSM is suited for in situ studies of inclusion behavior in liquid steel and phase transformations in solid-state steel, where in particular, displacive phase transformations can be studied, since they provide sufficient topographic contrast. The purpose of the present report is to provide a brief review of the state of the art of HT-CLSM and its application for in situ observations of ferrite formation in inclusion-engineered steels. The scientific literature in this field is surveyed and supplemented by new work to reveal the capability of HT-CLSM as well as to discuss the effect of factors such as cooling rate and parent grain size on IGF formation and growth kinetics. The report concludes with an outlook on the opportunities and challenges of HT-CLSM for applications in oxide metallurgy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)