The Effect of Austenitization Temperature on the Microstructure, Bend Properties, and Hardness of a Chrome-Bearing White Cast Iron

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Virginia Tech


The goal of this line of research is to add to the existing body of literature on the effect of heat treatments on the microstructure of chrome-bearing white irons and add bend test data to the literature concerning chrome-bearing white irons. This project was intended to support an existing line of research into cast metal-ceramic lattices using chrome white iron as a substitute for sintered ceramic tiles used to defeat projectiles. Chrome-bearing white irons have a substantial quantity of chromium carbides, giving them high hardness and abrasion resistance. Additionally, tiles cast from white iron proved to be more durable than sintered ceramic tiles, breaking into large chunks rather than a powder following an impact. These properties make tiles cast from chrome-bearing white iron a low-cost alternative to sintered carbides. The alloy investigated contained nominally 14 chromium and 3.2 carbon by weight percent. Three-point bend test specimens were cut from cast plates. These specimens were austenitized, air cooled, then tempered prior to three-point bend and hardness testing. The microstructure of the specimens was evaluated using optical microscopy, SEM, and XRD. This line of research revealed that lower austenitization temperatures resulted in a martensitic matrix with fewer, smaller secondary carbides, resulting in higher strength and hardness. In contrast, higher austenitization temperatures produced an austenitic matrix with coarser carbides, resulting in lower strength and hardness. This research did not reveal an appreciable change in ductility over heat treatment temperature.



Three-Point Bend Testing, White Cast Iron