1999 Volume 39 Issue 6 Pages 592-599
The dynamic process of fine grain evolution as well as deformation behaviour under warm working conditions was studied in compression of a 304 type austenitic stainless steel. Multiple compression tests were carried out at a strain rate of 10-3 s-1 to produce high cumulative strains, with changing of the loading direction in 90º and decreasing temperature from 1223 to 873 K (0.7-0.5Tm) in each pass. The steel exhibits two types of deformation behaviours with different mechanical and structural characteristics. In the deformation region where flow stresses are below about 400 MPa, conventional dynamic recrystallization takes place accompanied mainly by bulging of serrated grain boundaries. The dynamic grain size evolved can be related to the high temperature flow stress through a power law function with a grain size exponent of -0.72. On the other hand, in the region of higher stresses above 400 MPa the flow stresses show small strain rate and temperature dependence, and so it is suggested to be in an athermal deformation region. The stress-strain curves show a steady state like flow without any strain softening, while the multiple deformation to high cumulative strains brings about the evolution of fine grained structures with grain sizes less than one micron. The relationship between the warm temperature flow stresses and the grain sizes evolved also can be expressed by a unique power law function of grain size with an exponent of -0.42. The interrelations between the mechanisms of plastic deformation and microstructure evolution at warm and high temperatures are analysed in detail and also the multiple compression method for obtaining ultra fine grained structure is discussed as a simple thermomechanical processing.