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Sci Technol Adv Mater. 2013 Mar 20;14(1):014208. eCollection 2013 Feb.

Microstructure and cleavage in lath martensitic steels.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94620, USA.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan.


In this paper we discuss the microstructure of lath martensitic steels and the mechanisms by which it controls cleavage fracture. The specific experimental example is a 9Ni (9 wt% Ni) steel annealed to have a large prior austenite grain size, then examined and tested in the as-quenched condition to produce a relatively coarse lath martensite. The microstructure is shown to approximate the recently identified 'classic' lath martensite structure: prior austenite grains are divided into packets, packets are subdivided into blocks, and blocks contain interleaved laths whose variants are the two Kurjumov-Sachs relations that share the same Bain axis of the transformation. When the steel is fractured in brittle cleavage, the laths in the block share {100} cleavage planes and cleave as a unit. However, cleavage cracks deflect or blunt at the boundaries between blocks with different Bain axes. It follows that, as predicted, the block size governs the effective grain size for cleavage.


10.07; cleavage; fracture; lath martensitic steels; microstructure

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