In situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction studies of the effect of microstructure on tensile behavior and retained austenite stability of thermo-mechanically processed transformation induced plasticity steel
Transmission electron microscopy and in situ synchrotron high-energy X-ray diffraction were used to investigate the martensitic transformation and lattice strains under uniaxial tensile loading of Fe-Mn-Si-C-Nb-Mo-Al Transformation Induced Plasticity (TRIP) steel subjected to different thermo-mechanical processing schedules. In contrast with most of the diffraction analysis of TRIP steels reported previously, the diffraction peaks from the martensite phase were separated from the peaks of the ferrite-bainite α-matrix. The volume fraction of retained γ-austenite, as well as the lattice strain, were determined from the diffraction patterns recorded during tensile deformation. Although significant austenite to martensite transformation starts around the macroscopic yield stress, some austenite grains had already experienced martensitic transformation. Hooke's Law was used to calculate the phase stress of each phase from their lattice strain. The ferrite-bainite α-matrix was observed to yield earlier than austenite and martensite. The discrepancy between integrated phase stresses and experimental macroscopic stress is about 300 MPa. A small increase in carbon concentration in retained austenite at the early stage of deformation was detected, but with further straining a continuous slight decrease in carbon content occurred, indicating that mechanical stability factors, such as grain size, morphology and orientation of the retained austenite, played an important role during the retained austenite to martensite transformation.