2009 Volume 3 Issue 2 Pages 114-125
The microstructural influence of martensitic carbon steel on torsional fatigue endurance was investigated, taking into consideration the application of high strength steel electric resistance welded (ERW) tubes to automotive structural parts. The chemical composition of the base steel alloy was 0.1-0.2%C-0.2-1.5%Si-1.3-1.9%Mn-0.01%P-0.001%S-(Cr, Mo, Ti, Nb, B). Laboratory vacuum-fused ingots were hot-rolled, heated to 1023 or 1223 K in a salt bath, and then water-quenched and tempered at 473 K. Consequently, three types of microstructure, martensite (M), martensite and ferrite (M+F), and ferrite and pearlite (F+P), were prepared. Fully reversed torsional fatigue testing was conducted with 6 mm diameter round bar specimens. Torsional fatigue endurance was found to monotonously increase with increases in the tensile strength of the specimen from 540 to 1380 MPa. The martensitic single structure and the M+F dual-phase structure showed a similar level of fatigue endurance at a tensile strength of approximately 950 MPa. However, fatigue micro-crack morphology varied slightly between them. At the surface of the M+F specimen, many small cracks were observed in addition to the main crack. Conversely, in the martensitic specimen, these small cracks were rarely observed. ΔK decreasing/increasing crack growth testing with compact tension (CT)-type specimens was also conducted. Based on these experimental results, the effect of microstructure and stress level on the initiation/propagation cycle ratio is discussed. In addition to fatigue properties, some practical properties, such as low-temperature toughness and hydrogen embrittlement resistance, were also evaluated in view of actual applications for automotive structural parts.