Impact of Tempering Temperature on the Mechanical Properties of Steel: An In-situ X-ray Diffraction Study

In-situ X-ray diffraction studies are used to assess the effect of tempering temperature on a martensitic stainless steel. Changes in the mechanical properties can be related to microstructural changes observed in the X-ray diffraction data.

1 Introduction

Material properties are strongly dependent on the structure and arrangement of the atoms / molecules of which the material is comprised. For steel, different properties are required for the wide range of possible applications. Heat treatment (tempering) can be used to alter the microstructure and phases present within the steel and, therefore, change the material proper-ties. In-situ X-ray diffraction measurements can be used to study these changes.

The mechanical properties of soft martensitic steels, which find use in a wide variety of applications, are strongly dependent on the microstructure which develops during heat treatment. After treatment, the steel consists different phases; typically a combination of martensite, reverted or retained austenite, and carbide precipitates. Reverted austenite is the austenite which forms at sufficiently high temperatures during the tempering process.

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