We systematically investigate stress-strain behavior of ferrite and bainite with nano-sized vanadium carbides in low carbon steels; the ferrite samples were obtained through austenite/ferrite transformation accompanied with interphase precipitation and the bainite samples were via austenite/bainite transformation with subsequent aging. The stress-strain curves of both samples share several common features, i.e. high yield stress, relatively low work hardening and sufficient tensile elongation. Strengthening contributions from solute atoms, grain boundaries, dislocations and precipitates are calculated based on the structural parameters, and the calculation result is compared with the experimentally-obtained yield stress. The contributions from solute atoms and grain boundaries are simply additive, whereas those from dislocations and precipitates should be treated by taking the square root of the sum of the squares of two values. Nano-sized carbides may act as sites for dislocation multiplication in the early stage of deformation, while they may enhance dislocation annihilation in the later stage of deformation. Such enhanced dynamic recovery might be the reason for a relatively large elongation in both ferrite and bainite samples.
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