Lab report

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Lab 7. Heat Treatment of Steels
1. To measure the hardness and impact fracture strength of a plain carbon steel
following different heat treatments.
2. To relate processing-structure-properties for heat-treated steel.
Callister, W.D., Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction.
Section 6.10, 7.11 and 7.12, Chapter 10, Sections 11.7 and 11.8
Van Vlack, Elements of Materials Science and Engineering.
Chapter 11.
Flinn & Trojan, Engineering Materials and Their Applications.
Chapter 6.
When iron is heated to a high temperature, the crystal structure changes from the low
temperature equilibrium BCC structure called ferrite (or ?) to the high temperature FCC
structure called Austenite (or ??. Austenite is able to absorb much more carbon in
interstitial positions than ferrite (i.e. Austenite has a higher carbon solubility than ferrite).
This is critical in heat-treating applications, because by controlling the size, type or
morphology of the carbon-containing phases when the alloy is cooled, desired material
properties can be obtained.
Figure 1: Fe-Fe3C phase diagram (Callister, 8th Ed)
Lab Manual – Spring 2018
Effect of Cooling Rate
In the general case when the austenite is cooled it forms two different phases according to
the following reaction:
? ? ? + Fe3C
The cooling rate controls the size of each of the ? and Fe3C grains which form. The
slower the cooling rate, the larger is the sizes of the grains. Large size grains result in
softer materials. Higher cooling rates result in smaller grains and harder materials.
At extremely large cooling rates it is possible that the alloy does not have sufficient time
for the atoms of carbon to diffuse quickly enough and in this case a metastable phase
called Martensite results. Martensite has a BCT or Body Centered Tetragonal crystal
structure. BCT is similar to the BCC structure (in BCC all lattice parameters are equal:
a=b=c) except that one axis of the unit cell is longer than the others (BCT a=b
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