Phase transformation mechanisms during Quenching and Partitioning of a ductile cast iron

Arthur S. Nishikawa*, Goro Miyamoto, Tadashi Furuhara, André P. Tschiptschin, Hélio Goldenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    The modification of the matrix of ductile cast irons by heat treatments has been of interest of researchers for many years. Among these treatments, in the last years the Quenching & Partitioning (Q&P) process has emerged as a viable way to produce microstructures containing controlled amounts of martensite and retained austenite, providing a good combination of strength and ductility. In this work, the different mechanisms of phase transformations occurring during the Q&P heat treatment applied to a ductile cast iron alloy is investigated. Microsegregation, inherent to cast irons, was analyzed by means of Electron Probe Microanalysis (EPMA). Microstructural characterization was performed with Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Electron Backscattered Diffraction (EBSD), while kinetics of carbon redistribution and competitive reactions were studied using dilatometry and in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction. It was found that either transition carbides or cementite precipitate in martensite depending on the partitioning temperature. Despite of carbides precipitation, evidence of carbon partitioning from martensite to austenite was obtained. Formation of bainitic ferrite occurs during the partitioning step, further contributing to carbon enrichment of austenite. The experimental results are compared with a local field model that computes the local kinetics of carbon redistribution by simultaneously considering carbides precipitation and growth of bainitic ferrite. Results showed that kinetics of carbon partitioning from martensite to austenite depends on the carbides free energy. More stable carbides do not dissolve and prevent the escape of carbon from martensite. Fast carbon partitioning occurs by dissolution of less stable carbides, but it is slowed down as growth of bainitic ferrite proceeds. This result is explained by the overlapping of the diffusion fields (soft impingement) of the carbon partitioned from martensite and the carbon rejected from growth of bainitic ferrite.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    JournalActa Materialia
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Cast iron
    • Dilatometry
    • In situ X-ray diffraction
    • Modeling
    • Quenching and partitioning


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