2012 Volume 52 Issue 3 Pages 457-463
The microstructure of inclusions in low carbon free cutting steel without lead addition was investigated using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) coupled with small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). The two-dimensional (2D) SAXS pattern shows clear scattering due to inclusions composed of large elongated particles aligned along the rolling direction, and small isotropic particles. From a comparison of the simulated and experimental 2D SAXS patterns, the shapes of the inclusions are regarded as ellipsoid for the larger inclusions and spherical for the smaller inclusions. The length of the minor axis in the large inclusion is 6.9 μm, while the diameter of the small inclusion is 0.50 μm. The aspect ratio of the large inclusion is estimated to be 3.8 in the lower q region, and is reduced slightly to 3.5 in the higher q region from the azimuthal plots. The results of an alloy contrast variation (ACV) analysis using both the SAXS and SANS data indicate that the chemical composition of the inclusions is almost NaCl-type manganese sulfide, and that the amount of iron sulfide is low. The volume fractions are 1.4% for the large inclusions and 0.2% for the small inclusions. This is consistent with the area fraction estimated using an optical microscope, and indicates that nearly all of the sulfur in the steel sample forms the manganese sulfide inclusions.