2008 Volume 49 Issue 4 Pages 746-753
TRansformation Induced Plasticity (TRIP) steels are promising materials to achieve a better combination of formability and strength than conventional steels due to their unique microstructural makeup. Though welding is a vital part of auto body manufacturing, the weldability of TRIP steels has some complex and poorly understood features, which has served to retard the growth of its applications in the automotive industry. In this study, autogeneous welds were carried out on Al-alloyed TRIP steel using a 4 kW diode laser. Both fusion zone solidification behavior and subsequent austenite transformation products were investigated with optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques. In terms of solidification behavior, fusion zones solidified with high temperature δ-ferrite as the primary phase. Fusion zone microstructure at room temperature was composed of ferrite with a skeletal morphology characteristic of solidification, and austenite decomposition products almost all having a lath morphology. Skeletal ferrite covered about 30% fusion zone area. Upper bainite laths separated by retained austenite films comprised most of the transformed microstructure, about 65% of the fused area. Lower bainite with carbide particles dispersed in an aligned way, chunk shaped retained austenite, lath martensite and twinned martensite were also occasionally observed. The Al content was considered to be for a dominant influence on fusion zone microstructure evolution.