Anisotropic Embrittlement in High-Hardness ESR 4340 Steel Forgings.
ARMY MATERIALS AND MECHANICS RESEARCH CENTER WATERTOWN MA
Pagination or Media Count:
ESR 4340 steel forgings tempered to a hardness of HRC 55 exhibit a severe loss of tensile ductility in the short transverse direction which is strain-rate and humidity dependent. The anisotropy is also reflected in blunt-notch Charpy impact energy, but is absent in the sharp-crack fracture toughness. Brittle behavior is associated with regions of smooth intergranular fracture which are aligned with microstructural banding. Scanning Auger microprobe analysis indicates some intergranular segregation of phosphorus and sulfur in these regions. The anisotropic embrittlement is attributed to an interaction of nonequilibrium segregation on solidification with local equilibrium segregation at grain boundaries during austenitizing. This produces defective regions of enhanced intergranular impurity segregation which are oriented during forging. The regions are prone to brittle fracture under impact conditions and abnormal sensitivity to environmental attack during low strain-rate deformation. A relatively sparse distribution of these defects 100 per cu. in. accounts for the discrepancy between smooth bar and blunt-notch tests versus sharp-crack tests. Isotropic properties are restored by homogenization treatment. For application of these steels at extreme hardness levels, homogenization treatment is essential. Author
- Metallurgy and Metallography
- Fabrication Metallurgy