Edge microstructure and strength gradient in thermally cut ti‐alloyed martensitic steels
Recently developed Ti‐alloyed martensitic steels are believed to exhibit higher wear resistance than traditionally quenched and tempered medium carbon steels. However, their properties may deteriorate during thermal cutting and welding as a result of microstructure tempering. This would present significant challenges for the metal fabrication industries. A decrease in strength and wear resistance associated with tempering should vary with steel composition, initial steel microstructure and properties, and cutting method. In this work, we investigated the effect of thermal cutting on the edge microstructure and properties in two alloyed plate steels containing 0.27C‐0.40Ti and 0.39C‐0.60Ti (wt.%) commercially rolled to 12 mm thickness. Three cutting methods were applied to each of the two plates: oxy‐fuel, plasma and water‐jet. Microstructure characterisation was carried out using optical and scanning electron microscopy. With an increase in thermal effect, from water‐jet to plasma to oxy‐fuel, the heat affected zone width increased and hardness decreased in both steels. However, the hardness profile from the cut edge to the base metal significantly varied with steel composition, particularly C and Ti contents. The dependence of grain structure and precipitation kinetics on steel composition, and cutting method, were thoroughly investigated and linked to the hardness profile variation. The obtained results will be used to optimise the technological parameters for cutting and welding of Ti‐alloyed martensitic steels.
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Australian Research Council