Miniaturized fracture experiments on pearlitic steel: Challenges and solutions

Conference Dates

October 1-6, 2017


Pearlitic steels with their lamellar microstructure of thin Fe3C lamellae embedded in the α-Fe matrix finds multiple applications from railway steels to thin wires. During service as railway steels or during wire drawing a refinement and modification of the microstructure occurs due to the exposure to severe plastic deformation. The Fe3C lamellae are thinning and the α-Fe matrix becomes supersaturated with C turning it in body centered tetragonal structure which corresponds to martensite as we recently resolved by combining atom probe tomography and synchrotron experiments [1]. Severe wire drawing also reduces the wire diameter down to ca. 20 µm which prevents conventional mechanical fracture testing, thus requiring miniaturized fracture approaches. Similarly, at the surface of railway steels the lamellar microstructure decomposes and martensite formation together with Fe3C dissolution is observed leading to a so called white etching layer.

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