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Fracture toughness behavior of low-C medium-Mn high-strength steel with submicron-scale laminated microstructure of tempered martensite and reversed austenite

Qi, Xiangyu, Du, Linxiu, Dong, Ying, Misra, R. D. K., Du, Yu, Wu, Hongyan, Gao, Xiuhua
Journal of materials science 2019 v.54 no.18 pp. 12095-12105
ambient temperature, energy, microstructure, plastic deformation, steel
Fracture toughness was studied in terms of crack-tip opening displacement (CTOD) in low-C medium-Mn high-strength steel at both room temperature and − 40 °C, and excellent fracture toughness was obtained. The critical CTOD values (δ) and crack extension (∆a) followed the relationship: δ = 0.01343 + 0.62315∆a⁰.⁴⁷⁵³¹ and δ = 0.07391 + 0.48466∆a⁰.⁶⁰¹⁰³ at room temperature and − 40 °C, respectively. With the decrease in test temperature from room temperature to − 40 °C, the corresponding δ when ∆a = 0.2 mm (δ₀.₂) was reduced from 0.30341 to 0.25813 mm, and intersecting point in the crack extension resistance curve with a 0.2-mm passivation line (δQ₀.₂BL) was reduced from 0.42132 to 0.33941 mm. The large fraction of high misorientation boundaries between tempered martensite effectively hindered the crack propagation and increased the fracture toughness. Furthermore, the submicron-scale complex laminated microstructure of tempered martensite and reversed austenite refined the effective fracture grain size, which inhibited crack propagation and led to high fracture toughness. Also, the excellent fracture toughness is attributed to strain-induced martensite transformation of reversed austenite in the small plastic deformation zone ahead of the crack tip, which absorbed the strain energy, relaxed the local stress concentration, suppressed the crack propagation, and enhanced the fracture toughness.