Cold rolled sheets of a low carbon quenching and partitioning (Q&P) steel grade were subjected to heat treatment cycles, which were designed by dilatometric experiments and optimised with respect to the quenching temperature, partitioning temperature and partitioning time. Characterisation of the retained austenite was carried out by electron backscattered diffraction, whereas the carbides were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and differential scanning calorimetry. The mechanical properties were evaluated by tensile testing and linked with retained austenite fractions and carbon contents, determined by X-ray diffraction. Conclusions are drawn concerning the influence of the kinetics of partitioning on the microstructure in terms of optimal austenite fraction in the martensitic matrix, its C content and ensuing mechanical properties.
- 'Quenching and partitioning'
- Mechanical properties
- Microstructural characterisation
- Retained austenite