Effect of the precipitation hardening on regularities of plastic deformation and fracture mode of V-alloyed high nitrogen austenitic steel
Nitrogen alloying of austenitic steels increases their corrosion resistance and improves mechanical properties. During heat treatment, high-nitrogen austenitic steels tend to the precipitation hardening and the increase of strength characteristics. In the current paper, the authors studied the effect of the duration of age-hardening at the temperatures of 700 °С and 800 °С on the structure, phase composition, plastic flow behavior, and fracture mechanisms of V-alloyed high nitrogen chrome-manganese austenitic Fe-19Cr-22Mn-1.5V-0.3C-0.86N (mass %) steel. The study revealed that after water-quenching at 1200 °С, the specimens possess the high strength properties, ductility and contain large (300–500 nm) (V,Cr)(N,C) particles. Aging at temperatures of 700 °С and 800 °С facilitates complex reactions of austenite discontinuous decomposition with the Cr2N-plate formation in grains and continuous decomposition with the formation of vanadium nitride-based particles in austenite. During the long-term aging (50 h at 700 °C and 10 h at 800 °C), the intermetallic σ-phase appears in specimens. At age-hardening, the observed phase transformations cause the changes in macro- and micro-mechanism of fracture in the specimens of steel under the study. In the initial state, the specimens show mainly the ductile transgranular fracture. After age-hardening, the fracture mechanism changes into the mixed mechanism with the elements of brittle intergranular and ductile transgranular fractures. When increasing the duration of aging and implementation of complex reactions of decomposition of solid solution, the specimens are fractured by the quasi-cleavage mechanism. The specimens aged at temperatures of 700 °С and 800 °С have quite similar precipitation hardening mechanisms, though the increase in aging temperature leads to the rising of the decomposition rate of solid solution. The sequence of transformations described above and the corresponding sequence of changes in the mechanisms of steel fracture are implemented faster when increasing the aging temperature.
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