The influence of thermomechanical treatment on special features of the deformed microstructure of the EK-181 ferritic-martensitic steel
Keywords:ferritic-martensitic steel, EK-181 steel, high-temperature thermomechanical treatment, tensile limit, flow limit, percentage rapture elongation, deformed microstructure
Ferritic-martensitic steels with a chromium content of 9–12 % are currently considered as the promising structural materials for nuclear power. Interest in steels of this class is caused by their higher resistance to radiation swelling compared with austenitic steels used in the existing fission reactors. The operating temperature range of these steels is limited from below by their tendency to low-temperature embrittlement (cold fracture) under the radiation influences, and from above – by the long-term strength level (heat resistance). The authors studied the features of the microstructure of 12 % Cr ferritic-martensitic EK-181 steel near the neck of the samples deformed by tension at T=20 °С and within the range of temperatures close to the operating temperatures of a nuclear reactor (T=650 and T=720 °C). The authors carried out the comparative study of the materials processed by two methods: traditional and high-temperature treatment. The study showed that plastic deformation at T=20 °C after two treatments is similar in quality and leads to curvature and fragmentation of martensitic lamella, as well as to the formation of new low-angle boundaries. Deformation near the operating temperature range (T=650 and T=720 °C) contributes to the development of the processes of dynamic polygonization, recrystallization, increasing the density, and the size of carbide particles. After high-temperature thermomechanical treatment, these processes are less intensive compared to the state after traditional thermal treatment. After high-temperature thermomechanical treatment, EK-181 steel has an increased level of strength and has a higher resistance to plastic deformation compared to the state after traditional treatment. It is related to the high density of vanadium carbonitride nano-particles V(C, N) and the increased dislocation density after high-temperature thermomechanical treatment.
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