Title: Microstructural changes during short-cycle heat treatments of cold-work tool steels

Authors: Reinhold S.E. Schneider; Rick Grunwald; Christopher Schüller

Addresses: Department for Materials Technology, Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences – Wels, Stelzhamerstrasse 23, A-4600 Wels, Austria. ' R&D – Materials and Process Development, Fronius International GmbH, Günter Fronius Str. 1, A-4600 Wels-Thalheim, Austria. ' Department for Materials Technology, Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences – Wels, Stelzhamerstrasse 23, A-4600 Wels, Austria

Abstract: Short heat treatment cycles like for induction hardening are rarely investigated on alloyed cold-work tool steels. Therefore little is still known on the microstructural changes during austenitising, quenching and tempering under these conditions. As these investigations show there are significant changes in the alloy distribution depending on the austenitising parameters. Subsequent quenching can lead to high contents of retained austenite. During short cycle tempering the transformation of the tetragonal martensite and the decomposition of the retained austenite is shifted to significantly higher temperatures. When applying appropriate austenitising and tempering parameters similar hardness and toughness properties can be achieved as for standard heat treatment condition leading to good hardness values with a fine ductile fracture surface.

Keywords: microstructure; austenitising; cold work tool steels; retained austenite; tempering; heat treatment; induction hardening; quenching; short cycles; hardness; toughness; ductile fracture.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMMP.2011.044364

International Journal of Microstructure and Materials Properties, 2011 Vol.6 No.6, pp.455 - 464

Available online: 14 Dec 2011 *

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