Macrosegregation and microstructural evolution in a pressure-vessel steel

E. J. Pickering and H. K. D. H. Bhadeshia


This work assesses the consequences of macrosegregation on microstructural evolution during solid-state transformations in a continuously cooled pressure-vessel steel (SA508 Grade 3). Stark spatial variations in microstructure are observed following a simulated quench from the austenitization temperature, which are found to deliver significant variations in hardness. Partial-transformation experiments are used to show the development of microstructure in segregated material. Evidence is presented which indicates the bulk microstructure is not one of upper bainite, as it has been described in the past, but one comprised of Widmansta ̈ tten ferrite and pockets of lower bainite. Segregation is observed on three different length scales, and the origins of each type are proposed. Suggestions are put forward for how the segregation might be minimized, and its detrimental effects suppressed by heat treatments.

Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A (2014) DOI: 10.1007/s11661-014-2253-x.

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