Volume 45 (2005) Issue 2 Pages 272-280
The influence of thermomechanical processing parameters such as reheating temperature, deformation temperature, deformation percent and cooling rate on achieving high impact toughness properties was studied in a Nb-V microalloyed steel to be used as forged parts in automotive applications. 15 mm long and 65 mm diameter billets were forged using a 20 MN mechanical press. Tensile and Charpy impact tests specimens were machined out of the central part of the forged billets. The microstructure of the specimens was examined for each experimental condition using optical microscopy. Phase identification and distribution was studied using X-ray diffraction and orientation image microscopy techniques. The results indicate that, increasing the reheating temperature above the dissolution temperature of (Nb)(C, N) improved the impact energy values. By increasing the cooling rate from 0.3 to 3°C/s both tensile strength and impact toughness were improved. High elongation percent was also observed on samples reheated at higher temperature and/or cooled with the higher cooling rates. The obtained mechanical properties were related to the characteristics of microstructural components including acicular ferrite, retained austenite, pearlite and ferrite.
The interrelationship between thermomechanical processing parameters, microstructure development, and final mechanical properties were identified and optimized forging conditions to obtain high impact energy (>30 J) microalloyed forge steels were determined.