Stress-Induced Transformation to Bainite in a
Fe-Cr-Mo-C Pressure Vessel Steel

H. K. D. H. Bhadeshia, S. A. David, J. M. Vitek and R. W. Reed


The kinetics of the bainitic transformation in a polycrystalline Fe-Cr-Mo-C alloy designed for applications in energy generation systems has been studied, with particular attention to the influence of mild tensile stresses on transformation behaviour. The steel was found to exhibit the incomplete reaction phenomenon, in which transformation to bainite stops well before the residual austenite acquires its paraequilibrium carbon concentration. It was found that even in the absence of an applied stress, the growth of bainitic ferrite caused anisotropic changes in specimen dimensions, consistent with the existence of crystallographic texture in its austenitic condition and, significantly, with the nature of the invariant-plane strain shape change that accompanies the growth of bainitic ferrite. Thus, transformation induced plasticity could be detected in fine grained polycrystalline samples, even in the absence of applied stress. The application of an external stress was found to alter radically the transformation behaviour, with clear evidence that the stress tends to favour the development of certain crystallographic variants of bainite, even though the stress may be well below the single phase yield strength. It is concluded that the transformation is influenced significantly by stresses as low as 45 MN m-2, even though the effect may not be obvious in metallographic studies. The results are analysed and discussed in terms of the mechanism of the bainite transformation.

Materials Science and Technology, Vol. 7, 1991, pp. 686-698.

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Bainitic Phase Transformations

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