A computational 3D model that accounts for both nucleation and interface migration is a very useful tool to monitor and grasp the complexity of microstructure formation in low-alloyed steels. In the present study we have developed a 3D mixed-mode multigrain model for the austenite-ferrite and the austenite-ferrite-austenite formation capable of following diffusional phase transformations under arbitrary thermal routes. This new model incorporates the solute drag effect of a substitutional element (in this case Mn) and ensures an automatic change in transformation direction when changing from heating to cooling and vice-versa. An analytical solution for calculating the energy dissipation of solute drag together with multiple regression approximations for chemical potentials are proposed which significantly accelerate the computation. The modelling results are first benchmarked for an Fe-0.1C-0.5Mn (wt.%) alloy under different continuous cooling and isothermal holding conditions. The model revealed relatively large variations in transformation kinetics of individual grains as a result of interactions with neighboring grains. Then the model is applied to predict the transformation kinetics of a series of Fe-C-Mn alloys during cyclic partial phase transformations. The comparison with experimental dilatometer results nicely validates the predictions of this model regarding the change in overall transformation kinetics of the ferrite transformation as a function of the Mn content. New features of this model are its efficient algorithm to compute energy dissipation by solute drag, its capabilities of predicting the microstructural state for spatially resolved grains and the minimal fine tuning of modelling parameters. The code to implement this model is publicly available.
- Diffusional phase transformations
- Low-alloyed steels
- Mixed-mode multigrain model
- Mn partitioning
- Solute drag