2012 Volume 52 Issue 5 Pages 874-883
An ultrafine grained (UFG) ferrite/cementite steel was subjected to intercritical annealing in order to obtain an UFG ferrite/martensite dual-phase (DP) steel. The intercritical annealing parameters, namely, holding temperature and time, heating rate, and cooling rate were varied independently by applying dilatometer experiments. Microstructure characterization was performed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high-resolution electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). An EBSD data post-processing routine is proposed that allows precise distinction between the ferrite and the martensite phase. The sensitivity of the microstructure to the different annealing conditions is identified. As in conventional DP steels, the martensite fraction and the ferrite grain size increase with intercritical annealing time and temperature. Furthermore, the variations of the microstructure are explained in terms of the changes in phase transformation kinetics due to grain refinement and the manganese enrichment in cementite during warm deformation.