In this study, UltraFast Heat Treatment (UFHT) was applied to a soft annealed medium carbon chromium molybdenum steel. The specimens were rapidly heated and subsequently quenched in a dilatometer. The resulting microstructure consists of chromium-enriched cementite and chromium carbides (in sizes between 5–500 nm) within fine (nano-sized) martensitic and bainitic laths. The dissolution of carbides in austenite (γ) during ferrite to austenite phase transformation in conditions of rapid heating were simulated with DICTRA. The results indicate that fine (5 nm) and coarse (200 nm) carbides dissolve only partially, even at peak (austenitization) temperature. Alloying elements, especially chromium (Cr), segregate at austenite/carbide interfaces, retarding the dissolution of carbides and subsequently austenite formation. The sluggish movement of the austenite/carbide interface towards austenite during carbide dissolution was attributed to the partitioning of Cr nearby the interface. Moreover, the undissolved carbides prevent austenite grain growth at peak temperature, resulting in a fine-grained microstructure. Finally, the simulation results suggest that ultrafast heating creates conditions that lead to chemical heterogeneity in austenite and may lead to an extremely refined microstructure consisting of martensite and bainite laths and partially dissolved carbides during quenching.
- Bainitic ferrite
- Ultra-fast heating