2016 Volume 56 Issue 12 Pages 2290-2297
We investigated the microstructural evolution during intercritical annealing in Nb-added low-carbon steels, focusing on the synergistic effects of the addition of Nb and the ferrite (α) to austenite (γ) phase transformation on the recrystallization behavior of α. Two kinds of specimens, containing 0.02 and 0.05 mass% Nb, were prepared and annealed at the intercritical temperature (750°C) for a long time. The progress of recovery and α recrystallization was retarded by increasing the amount of Nb addition during intercritical annealing. Moreover, the progress of α recrystallization during intercritical annealing was mainly attributed to continuous recrystallization due to subgrain growth. The fraction of γ that formed during intercritical annealing increased owing to Nb addition, but it did not increase with increasing amount of Nb addition. These results suggest that the progress of recovery and α recrystallization was retarded during intercritical annealing by the addition of Nb, thereby causing the increase in γ fraction. Furthermore, the increase in γ fraction led to further retardation of α recrystallization and α refinement with the addition of Nb.