2013 Volume 53 Issue 12 Pages 2099-2109
The inclusions and clusters in steel samples of two similar steel grades of high-silicon non-calcium treated (HSiNC) stainless steels were investigated and compared during ladle treatment and continuous casting. Samples of liquid steel and slag were taken at different stages of the ladle treatment and casting during two plant trials: Low Al steel (LAl) and High Al steel (HAl). After electrolytic extraction of the steel samples, characteristics of inclusions and clusters (such as morphology, composition, size and number) were investigated in three dimensions (3D) by SEM in combination with EDS. Moreover, the composition of typical inclusions and clusters was analyzed on a polished cross section of steel samples. Spherical (SP), irregular and regular (IR) inclusions and clusters (CL) were observed in the samples from both heats. It was found that the morphology and composition of inclusions and clusters in both heats were significantly changed during the ladle treatment and casting. Most of inclusions (44–98%) in a Low Al steel are MgO–CaO–SiO2–Al2O3 spherical inclusions. The compositions of IR inclusions and clusters in steel samples of a High Al steel were mostly MgO·Al2O3 spinel, but also the complex SP inclusions containing Al2O3–MgO–CaO–SiO2. In addition, phase stability diagram based on Darken’s quadratic formalism and Redlich-Kister type polynomial was estimated for both heats at a non-infinite solution.