Steels containing bainite microstructure are widely applied in various industrial areas. Incomplete bainite transformation is frequently used to control volume fraction of retained austenite as well as its stability and is also closely related to bainite growth mechanism. It is generally accepted that incomplete bainite transformation could occur when carbide precipitation is absent. On the other hand, some new studies revealed that carbide with very fine size were observed in "carbide-free" bainite in Si added steels. Our previous study on bainite isothermal transformation kinetics together with its microstructural evolution with Fe-1.5(3.0)%Si-0.4%C alloys (mass fraction) at 400~500℃ found incomplete bainite transformation phenomenon for the 3.0Si alloy at 450℃ and for two alloys at 400℃. In contrast with the generally accepted view, cementite precipitation with Si depletion was observed at the beginning of incomplete transformation stage. Further analysis on three dimension atom probe results revealed that the carbide volume fraction as well as amount of C atoms in carbide hardly changes during incomplete transformation stage. Thermodynamic analysis revealed that small chemical driving force for cementite precipitation and/or the necessity of Si partition are two factors accounting for the extremely slow cementite precipitation kinetics. It is thus proposed that incomplete bainite transformation and carbide precipitation could co-exist. Conditions for incomplete bainite transformation are modified as follows. Firstly, bainitic ferrite growth is stopped before reaching equilibrium fraction. In addition, carbide precipitation should be absent or its kinetics should be slow enough.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Metals and Alloys