The combined influence of grain size distribution and dislocation density on hardness of interstitial free steel

Wei Li*, Martina Vittorietti, Geurt Jongbloed, Jilt Sietsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the relationship between microstructure features and mechanical properties is of great significance for the improvement and specific adjustment of steel properties. The relationship between mean grain size and yield strength is established by the well-known Hall-Petch equation. But due to the complexity of the grain configuration within materials, considering only the mean value is unlikely to give a complete representation of the mechanical behavior. The classical Taylor equation is often used to account for the effect of dislocation density, but not thoroughly tested in combination with grain size influence. In the present study, systematic heat treatment routes and cold rolling followed by annealing are designed for interstitial free (IF) steel to achieve ferritic microstructures that not only vary in mean grain size, but also in grain size distribution and in dislocation density, a combination that is rarely studied in the literature. Optical microscopy is applied to determine the grain size distribution. The dislocation density is determined through XRD measurements. The hardness is analyzed on its relation with the mean grain size, as well as with the grain size distribution and the dislocation density. With the help of the variable selection tool LASSO, it is shown that dislocation density, mean grain size and kurtosis of grain size distribution are the three features which most strongly affect hardness of IF steel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-43
JournalJournal of Materials Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Dislocation density
  • Grain size distribution
  • Hardness
  • Interstitial free steel

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