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Iron-Iron Carbide Phase Diagram Example

Fig 1: Fe-Fe3C Phase Diagram (clickable), Materials Science and Metallurgy, 4th ed., Pollack, Prentice-Hall, 1988 Figure 1 shows the equilibrium diagram for combinations of carbon in a solid solution of iron. The diagram shows iron and carbons combined to form Fe-Fe3C at the 6.67%C end of the diagram. The left side of the diagram is pure iron combined with carbon, resulting in steel alloys. Three significant regions can be made relative to the steel portion of the diagram. They are the eutectoid E, the hypoeutectoid A, and the hypereutectoid B. The right side of the pure iron line is carbon in combination with various forms of iron called alpha iron (ferrite), gamma iron (austenite), and delta iron. The black dots mark clickable sections of the diagram. Allotropic changes take place when there is a change in crystal lattice structure. From 2802-2552F the delta iron has a body-centered cubic lattice structure. At 2552F, the lattice changes from a body-centered cubic to a face-centered cubic lattice type. At 1400F, the curve shows a plateau but this does not signify an allotropic change. It is called the Curie temperature, where the metal changes its magnetic properties. Two very important phase changes take place at 0.83%C and at 4.3% C. At 0.83%C, the transformation is eutectoid, called pearlite. gamma (austenite) --> alpha + Fe3C (cementite) At 4.3% C and 2066F, the transformation is eutectic, called ledeburite.

L(liquid) --> gamma (austenite) + Fe3C (cementite)

Equilibrium Calculations 1. Given the Fe-Fe3C phase diagram, Fig. 1, calculate the phases present at the eutectoid composition line at: a. T = 3000F b. T = 2200F c. T = 1333F d. T = 410F 2. Calculate the phases in the cast-iron portion of the diagram at the eutectic composition of 4.3% C in combination with 95.7% ferrite at: a. T = 3000F b. T = 1670F c. T = 1333F 3. A eutectoid steel (about 0.8%C) is heated to 800C (1472F) and cooled slowly through the eutectoid temperature. Calculate the number of grams of carbide that form per 100g of steel. 4. Determine the amount of pearlite in a 99.5% Fe-0.5%C alloy that is cooled slowly from 870C given a basis of 100g of alloy.

Solutions 1. a. T = 3000F. Since the composition E is eutectoid, the carbon content is 0.83%. b. T = 2200F. At this temperature, austenite exists as a single-phase solid. c. T = 1333F. Two phases exist, ferrite and austenite. The percentages are determined by the lever rule: X (X+Y) = (Cy-C) (Cy-Cx). proeutectoid ferrite = (0.83 - 0.18) / (0.83 - 0.025) x 100 = 80.7% austenite = (0.18 - 0.025) / (0.83 - 0.025) x 100 = 19.3% d. T = 410F. A small amount of cementite will precipitate following the solubility line from 0.025% C at 1333F to 0.008% C at room temperature. The overall percentages of ferrite and cementite are: ferrite = (6.67 - 0.18) / (6.67 - 0.01) x 100 = 97.4 cementite = (0.18 - 0.01) / (6.67 - 0.01) x 100 = 2.6% 2. a. T = 3000F. At this temperature, the eutectic is all liquid. b. T = 1670F. Since there is a change of the solubility line, there will be a change in the austenite composition, that will transform to the eutectoid at 1333F. The overall austenite and cementite composition will be: austenite = (6.67 - 4.3) / (6.67 - 1.2) x 100 = 43.3%

cementite = (4.3 - 1.2) / (6.67 - 1.2) x 100 = 56.7% c. T = 1333F. At this temperature the austenite has a eutectoid composition and will transform into pearlite. The compositions of proeutectoid cementite and austenite are: eutectoid austenite = (6.67 - 4.3) / (6.67 - 0.83) x 100 = 40.6% proeutectoid cementite = (4.3 - 0.83) / (6.67 - 0.83) x 100 = 59.4% The austenite has a eutectoid composition that is: eutectoid ferrite = (6.67 - 0.83) / (6.67 - 0.025) x 100 = 88% eutectoid cementite = (0.83 - 0.025) / (6.67 - 0.025) x 100 = 12% 3. Interpolate between alpha (0.02%C) and Fe3C (6.7%) at 1333F Carbide = (0.8 - 0.02) / (6.7 - 0.02) x 100 = 12g 4. Since pearlite originates from austenite of eutectoid composition, determine the amount of gamma just prior to the eutectoid reaction. From 870C - 780C : 100g austenite with 0.5% C From 780C - 727C : ferrite separates from austenite and the carbon content of the austenite increases to about 0.8% C At 727C (+) : proeutectoid ferrite: composition of ferrite = 0.02% C, amount of carbon = 38g Gamma that transforms to pearlite: compostion of austenite = 0.8% C. Amount of austenite = 62g. At 727C (-): Amount of pearlite = 62g

Investigate the Fe-Fe3C T-T-T diagram.

Kim Ballentine 4/28/96 http://www.eng.vt.edu/eng/materials/classes/MSE2094_NoteBook/ 96ClassProj/examples/kimcon.html

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Steels - An Introduction to Heat Treatment


Conditioning of steel by thermal or heat treatment relies on the different mechanical properties which are exhibited by the various structures present in plain carbon steels. Figure 1 illustrates the equilibrium structures present at different temperatures with changing carbon content for the iron-carbon system. Figure 2 demonstrates the effect of chill rate upon final structure, and is called a time-temperature-transformation or TTT diagram. Essentially, when cooling from the melt or high temperature phases, there is an incubation period below the equilibrium melting point or transformation temperature (723C in the case of the steel shown) before the transformation occurs. This undercooling provides the driving force for the transformation. During a furnace cool (i.e. slow cooling rate) the austenite will start to transform to ferrite and cementite after sufficient undercooling, resulting in a microstructure of coarse pearlite. With a high cooling rate such as that experienced with a water quench, it is possible to miss the 'nose' of the TTT curve altogether. Martensite is produced starting at about 220C for the composition shown. The finish temperature of the martensite reaction for certain alloys can be below room temperature, so that at room temperature some unstable austenite is present.

Figure 1. Part of the equilibrium phase diagram for the Fe-C system.

Figure 2. The TTT diagram for AISI 1080 steel (0.79%C, 0.76%Mn) austenitised at 900C. The design of steels and cooling conditions to produce required amounts of martensite has its own branch of technology, 'hardenability'. In plain carbon steels, the nose of the TTT curve occurs at very short times, hence fast cooling rates are required to produce martensite. In thin sections of steel, a rapid quench can produce distortion and cracking. In thick plain carbon steels, it is not possible to produce an all martensitic structure. All common alloying elements shift the nose of the TTT diagram to longer times, thus allowing the development of martensite in thick sections at slower cooling rates.