2014 Volume 54 Issue 7 Pages 1697-1704
The growth and coarsening of Cu-particles in 18%Cr–1.5%Cu ferritic stainless steels as a function of Nb content was investigated quantitatively. The samples were solution-treated at 1250°C and then isothermally aged at 700°C for up to 86400 s. Fine, spherical Cu-particles nucleated and grew during aging. The radius of the Cu particles increased in proportion to the one-third power of the aging time in all the stainless steels. The radius of the Cu particles in the Nb-added stainless steels was always smaller than that in the Nb-free stainless steel. The normalized standard deviation of the size distribution of the Cu particles increased and reached saturation at a certain value during aging. The increase in the standard deviation during aging was delayed by the addition of Nb. The volume fraction of Cu particles increased and reached saturation at a certain value during aging. The addition of niobium delayed the saturation of the volume fraction of the Cu particles. The slow growth of Cu particles in Nb-added stainless steels is thought to be owing to the slow diffusion of Nb atoms from the Cu particles.