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Formation of eta carbide in ferrous martensite by room temperature aging

journal contribution
posted on 2018-10-01, 00:00 authored by W Lu, M Herbig, C H Liebscher, L Morsdorf, Ross MarceauRoss Marceau, G Dehm, D Raabe
For several decades, the formation of carbon(C)-rich domains upon room temperature aging of supersaturated martensite has been a matter of debate. C-rich tweed-like patterns are observed to form after short aging times at room temperature and coarsen upon further aging. Here, we present a systematic atomic-scale investigation of carbide formation in Fe-15Ni-1C (wt.%) martensite after two to three years of isothermal room temperature aging by a combination of atom probe tomography and transmission electron microscopy. Owing to the sub-zero martensite start temperature of −25 °C, a fully austenitic microstructure is maintained at room temperature and the martensitic phase transformation is initiated during quenching in liquid nitrogen. In this way, any diffusion and redistribution of C in martensite is suppressed until heating up the specimen and holding it at room temperature. The microstructural changes that accompany the rearrangement of C atoms have been systematically investigated under controlled isothermal conditions. Our results show that after prolonged room temperature aging nanometer-sized, plate-shaped η-Fe2C carbides form with a macroscopic martensite habit plane close to {521}. The orientation relationship between the η-Fe2C carbides and the parent martensite grain (α′) follows [001]α’//[001]η, (1¯10)α’//(020)η. The observation of η-Fe2C–carbide formation at room temperature is particularly interesting, as transition carbides have so far only been reported to form above 100 °C. After three years of room temperature aging a depletion of Fe is observed in the η carbide while Ni remains distributed homogenously. This implies that the substitutional element Fe can diffuse several nanometers in martensite at room temperature within three years.



Acta materialia




297 - 312




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Elsevier Ltd.