Characterization of microstructural strengthening in the heat-affected zone of a blast-resistant naval steel

X. Yu, J. Caron, S. S. Babu, J. C. Lippold, D. Isheim, D. N. Seidman



The influence of simulated heat-affected zone thermal cycles on the microstructural evolution in a blast-resistant naval steel was investigated by dilatometry, microhardness testing, optical microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction and atom-probe tomography (APT) techniques. Coarsening of Cu precipitates were observed in the subcritical and intercritical heat-affected zones, with partial dissolution in the latter. A small number density of Cu precipitates and high Cu concentration in the matrix of the fine-grained heat-affected zone indicates the onset of Cu precipitate dissolution. Cu clustering in the coarse-grained heat-affected zone indicated the potential initiation of Cu reprecipitation during cooling. Segregation of Cu was also characterized by APT. The hardening and softening observed in the heat-affected zone regions was rationalized using available strengthening models

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