Phase transformation behavior and microstructural control of high-Cr martensitic/ferritic heat-resistant steels for power and nuclear plants: a review
The martensitic/ferritic steels have been used as boiler and turbine materials in power plants, and also been selected as potential materials for structural materials in nuclear reactors. In this paper, the kinetic analysis of the martensite formation and microstructural control of high-Cr martensitic/ferritic steels are reviewed. A modular approach, incorporating Fisher partitioning nucleation and anisotropic growth for impingement, was proposed to describe the martensite formation kinetics under different cooling rates. The kinetic analysis suggested a thermal-activated growth feature occurring during the martensitic transformation of martensitic steels. The microstructure can be tuned by composition optimization and various combinations of heat treatment parameters (temperature, time, severe and minor deformation). For the application in power plant, the potential of boundary-design, refinement of original austenite grain size and the final martensitic lath, pinning effect of stable carbides, in improving the performances of martensitic/ferritic steels at elevated temperatures should be investigated more thoroughly. Furthermore, efforts should be made to explore the effects of retained austenite on the improvement of high-temperature creep strength. For the application of nuclear plants, attempts should also be made to produce Fe powders with uniformly distributed oxide particles by chemical reactions.