The precipitation behaviors of carbides and Cu during continuous heating for tempering were investigated in Cu-bearing medium C martensitic steel by means of dilatometry, electrical resistivity, and transmission electron microscopy. The addition of 1.5 wt% Cu suppressed carbide precipitation during quenching from 900 °C, resulting in a large amount of solute C atoms in virgin martensite. The addition of Cu increased both the finish temperature of ε-carbide precipitation and the amount of e-carbide precipitates during continuous heating. The precipitation of cementite was retarded and the amount of cementite precipitates increased by the addition of Cu. Retarded cementite precipitation in the Cu-bearing steel was attributed to sluggish Cu partitioning from cementite particles to the martensite matrix, the hindrance to the migration of cementite interfaces by Cu particles, and the slowed diffusions of C and Fe atoms. Cu precipitation was accelerated by cementite precipitation because cementite interfaces and the high Cu concentration near cementite particles provided nucleation sites for Cu precipitation. The hardness of the tempered Cu-bearing steel was higher than that of the tempered Cu-free steel at the temperatures of over 300 °C due to both Cu precipitation hardening and retarded cementite precipitation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering