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R. Jafari, Sh. Mirdamadi, Sh. Kheirandish, H. Guim,
Volume 15, Issue 3 (September 2018)

In this research, the objective was to investigate the stabilized retained austenite in the microstructure resulting from the Q&P heat treatment since the primary goal in Q&P is to create a microstructure consists of stabilized retained austenite and martensite. For this purpose, a low-alloy steel with 0.4wt. % carbon was treated by quench and partitioning (Q&P) process. The Q&P was conducted at different quench temperatures to obtain a considerable amount of retained austenite, while partitioning temperature and time were kept constant. Through analysis of the XRD profiles, volume percent, carbon concentration, and lattice parameters of retained austenite and martensite were calculated. At quench temperature equal to 160°C, 12vol.% austenite was stabilized to the room temperature, which was the highest amount achieved. The microstructural observations carried out on selected samples, revealed that retained austenite has a nanoscale particle size, about 200nm. Distinguishing retained austenite in the SEM micrographs became possible by utilizing SE2 signals via the difference in phases contrast. Two types of morphology, film-like and blocky type, were identified by means of TEM and TKD and a schematic model was proposed in order to explain these morphologies

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