2018 Volume 36 Issue 4 Pages 230-237
Zinc induced cracking (ZIC) occurs under excess tensile stress even in steels suitable for hot-dip galvanizing kettles. In this study, it was examined how the excess stress affects microstructure of the base metals and heat-affected zones (HAZs), that relates to molten zinc diffusion along the grain boundary leading to ZIC. Two kinds of steels, exhibiting two-phase (ferrite and perlite) structure (Steel A) and ferrite structure (Steel B), were selected. Tensile tests were conducted with a V-shaped notch, at which a piece of zinc wire adhered, in air at 450°C and 500°C. They failed with sudden drop in flow stress at their ultimate tensile strength (i.e. excess tensile stress). The local tensile strain at the failure point was estimated based on the aspect ratio change of grains beneath the V-shaped notch before and after the tests. The Steel A specimens with the base metal and HAZ composed of ultrafine bainitic structure failed without exhibiting ZIC at similar local tensile strain at 450°C, while the specimen with HAZ composed of bainitic structure exhibited ZIC. The two-phase structure seems to be strong enough, while the ultrafine bainitic structure prevented zinc diffusion along its grain boundary maybe with carbon and/or carbon precipitates. The Steel B specimens with the base metal and HAZs exhibited ZIC and the critical strain decreased with decreasing the grain size at 450°C. The intermetallic compound layer (IMCL) formed between steels and molten zinc at 500°C was thicker than at 450°C, and thus ZIC was hardly observed in similar tests at 450°C with holding time of 20 mins before starting the test. Thus, the tests were immediately started upon reaching 500°C. Consequently, the ZIC at 500°C was divided into three groups: no ZIC in microstructure with high strength and ZIC dependent and independent on existence of IMCL.