2010 Volume 50 Issue 5 Pages 760-767
The aim of the present study was to investigate the possibilities of reaching yield strengths beyond 600 MPa for low carbon bainitic hot strip steels by vanadium microalloying together with suitable base alloying. The processing conditions and levels of carbon and nitrogen chosen in this laboratory investigation correspond to those of a typical 8 mm hot strip steel containing 0.04 mass% carbon and 0.010 mass% nitrogen from electric arc furnace practice processed in conventional or compact strip mills. It was found that a base alloying corresponding to 1.4 mass% Mn, 1.0 mass% Cr and 0.25 mass% Mo is required to form a fully bainitic structure after coiling at 400°C. The decisive factors determining the strength of bainitic hot strip steels are firstly the bainite transformation temperature and secondly the extent to which recovery of the densely dislocated bainitic ferrite can be prevented. The results of this study demonstrate that vanadium microalloying effectively prevents the recovery of the bainitic ferrite and leads to retention of the strength of the virgin bainite after coiling. This is primarily due to retardation of recovery by fine vanadium carbonitrides precipitates on dislocations and only to a lesser extent to true precipitation strengthening. With 0.08 mass% V together with 0.010–0.020 mass% N the yield strength lies in the range of 750–790 MPa compared to 680 MPa for a similar reference steel without vanadium. By raising the chromium content to 2%, yield strengths in the range of 840–880 MPa have been reached. This is attributed to a lowering of the bainite transformation temperature resulting from the higher base alloying.