Effects of Microalloying Elements on Microstructures and Toughness of Simulated HAZ in Quenched and Tempered Steels

  • Published : 2003.12.01


A series of experiments has been carried out to investigate the effect of titanium, boron and nitrogen on the microstructure and toughness of simulated heat affected zone (HAZ) in quenched and tempered (QT) type 490MPa yield strength steels. For acquiring the same strength level, the carbon content and carbon equivalent could be lowered remarkably with a small titanium and boron addition due to the hardenability effect of boron during quenching process. Following the thermal cycle of large heat input, the coarsened grain HAZ (CGHAZ) of conventional quenched and tempered (QT) type 490MPa yield strength steels exhibited a coarse bainitic or ferrite side plate structure with large prior austenite grains. While, titanium and boron bearing QT type 490MPa yield strength steels were characterized by the microstructure in the CGHAZ, consisting mainly of the fine intragranular ferrite microstructure. Toughness of the simulated HAZ was mainly controlled by the proper Ceq level, and the ratio of Ti/N rather than titanium and nitrogen contents themselves. In the titanium­boron added QT steels, the optimum Ti/N ratio for excellent HAZ toughness was around 2.0, which was much lower than the known Ti/N stoichiometric ratio, 3.4. With reducing Ti/N ratio from the stoichiometric ratio, austenite grain size in the coarse grained HAZ became finer, indicating that the effective fine precipitates could be sufficiently obtained even with lower Ti/N level by adding boron simultaneously. Along with typical titanium carbo­nitrides, various forms of complex titanium­ and boron­based precipitates, like TiN­MnS­BN, were often observed in the simulated CGHAZ, which may act as stable nuclei for ferrite during cooling of weld thermal cycles