Metallurgical Principles in the Heat Treatment of Steels Nov04

Metallurgical Principles in the Heat Treatment of Steels...

Metallurgical Principles in the Heat Treatment of Steels Heat treatment of steels is carried out for achieving the desired changes in the metallurgical structure properties of the steels. By heat treatment, steels undergo intense changes in the properties. Normally very stable steel structures are obtained when steel is heated to the high temperature austenitic state and then slowly cooled under near equilibrium conditions. This type of heat treatment, normally known as annealing or normalizing, produces a structure which has a low level of the residual stresses locked within the steel, and the structures can be predicted from the Fe (iron)- C (carbon) equilibrium diagram. However, the properties which are mostly required in the steels are high strength and hardness and these are generally accompanied by high levels of residual stresses. These are due to the metastable structures produced by non-equilibrium cooling or quenching from the austenitic state. Crystal structure and phases The crystal structure of pure Fe in the solid state is known to exist in two allotropic states. From the ambient temperature and up to 910 deg C, Fe possesses a body centered cubic (bcc) lattice and is called alpha-Fe.  At 910 deg C, alpha-Fe crystals turn into gamma-Fe crystals possessing a face-centered cubic (fcc) lattice. The gamma crystals retain stability up to temperature of 1400 deg C.  Above this temperature they again acquire a bcc lattice which is known as delta crystals. The delta crystals differ from alpha crystals only in the temperature region of their existence. Fe has two lattice constants namely (i) 0.286 nm for bcc lattices (alpha-Fe, delta-Fe), and (ii) 0.364 nm for fcc lattices (gamma- Fe). At low temperatures, alpha-Fe shows strong ferromagnetic characteristic. This disappears when it is heated to around 770 deg C, since the lattice...

Alloy Cast Irons

Alloy Cast Irons Alloy cast irons are the casting alloys which are based on the iron (Fe) – carbon (C) – silicon (Si) system. They contain one or more alloying elements intentionally added to improve one or more properties. The addition to the ladle of small amounts of substances such as ferrosilicon (Fe-Si), cerium (Ce), or magnesium (Mg)) that are used to control the size, shape, and/or distribution of graphite particles is termed as inoculation. The quantities of material used for inoculation neither change the basic composition of the solidified cast iron nor alter the properties of individual constituents. Alloying elements, including Si when it exceeds about 3 %, are usually added to increase the strength, hardness, hardenability, or corrosion resistance of the basic iron and are often added in quantities sufficient to affect the occurrence, properties, or distribution of constituents in the microstructure. In gray and ductile cast irons, small amounts of alloying elements such as chromium (Cr), molybdenum (Mo), or nickel (Ni) are added primarily to achieve high strength or to ensure the attainment of a specified minimum strength in heavy sections. Otherwise, alloying elements are used almost exclusively to enhance resistance to abrasive wear or chemical corrosion or to extend service life at elevated temperatures. Classification of alloy cast irons Alloy cast irons can be classified as (i) white cast irons, (ii) corrosion resistant cast irons, and (iii) heat resistant cast irons (Fig 1). Fig 1 Classification of alloy cast irons White cast irons White cast irons are so named because of their characteristically white fracture surfaces. They do not have any graphite in their microstructures. Instead, the C is present in the form of carbides, mainly of the types Fe3C and Cr7C3. Frequently, complex carbides such as (Fe,Cr)3C and (Cr,Fe)7C3,...

Cast irons and their Classification...

Cast irons and their Classification  The term ‘cast iron’ represents a large family of ferrous alloys. Cast irons are multi-component ferrous alloys, which solidify with a eutectic. The major elements of cast irons are iron, carbon (2 % or more), silicon (1 % to 3 %), minor elements (less than 0.1 %), and often alloying elements (less than 0.1%). Cast iron has higher carbon and silicon contents than steel. The structure of cast iron displays a richer carbon phase than that of steel because of its higher carbon content. Cast iron can solidify according to the thermodynamically metastable Fe-Fe3C (iron carbide) system or the stable iron-graphite system depending principally on composition, cooling rate, and melt treatment. Cast iron in its basic form is a brittle material which has a very little impact strength. It has a little or practically no toughness when compared to low carbon steels.  It has a fraction of the tensile strength of low carbon steels.  When a cast iron piece fails it does not deform in a noticeable way and appears to snap apart or break in a manner consistent with a snap.  There is no early warning of a failure. The graphite phase which is pure carbon acts as a natural defect in the material.  The iron is so saturated with carbon that graphite forms (free carbon) and causes the cast iron to be weaker.  Much smaller amounts of carbon is combined with iron (Fe) in the form of iron carbide (Fe3C, cementite) which is hard and brittle. During the solidification process, when the metastable route is followed, the rich carbon phase in the eutectic is the iron carbide and when the stable solidification route is followed, the rich carbon phase is graphite. Referring only to the binary Fe-Fe3C or...

Carbon Based Refractories...

Carbon Based Refractories Carbon based refractories behave differently than the typical ceramic refractories, primarily because carbon based refractories are conductive rather than insulating. All carbon based refractory lining systems perform as a ‘conductive cooling system’ as opposed to a classic definition of a refractory lining that is typically an ‘insulating system’. Consequently, proper cooling must always be utilized with any carbon based refractory lining system to assist in maintaining refractory temperatures that are below the critical chemical attack temperature for mechanisms such as oxidation, alkali, CO degradation, or dissolution of the carbon by liquid metal. The words ‘carbon’ and ‘graphite’ are often used inter-changeably, but the two are not synonymous. Additionally, the words ‘semi-graphite’ and ‘semi-graphitic’ are also similarly misused. Carbon based refractories are basically classified  in three categories namely (i) carbon refractories, (ii) carbon containing basic refractories, and (iii) carbon containing non basic refractories. (Fig 1) Fig 1 Carbon based refractories  Within the area of carbon based refractories, phenol-formaldehyde (Phenolic) resins have found a multitude of uses. One significant attribute of phenolic resins is their ability to form a carbon bond. This, to a large extent, contributed to their initial use in this Industry, as cleaner alternatives to the traditional pitch and tar binders. Also as the industry increased usage of carbon bonded products, phenolic resin bonded products have replaced more and more the traditional ceramic bond in many areas of liquid metal contact. Phenolic resins can also dramatically improve production rates and consistency of refractories. Their low temperature curing characteristics give dimensional stability, and in many applications, the final heating of the product to form the carbon bond, can be carried after the product has been installed at the customer.  They have excellent compatibility with many refractory raw materials, and give good...

Refractory lining of blast furnace Aug15

Refractory lining of blast furnace...

Refractory lining of blast furnace  A modern blast furnace (BF) is refractory lined to protect the furnace shell from the high temperatures and abrasive materials inside the furnace. The refractory lining is cooled to further enhance the protection against the dispatch of excess heat that can destroy the refractory lining. BF has a complex refractory system to provide a long, safe life that is necessary for the blast furnace availability and for permitting nearly continuous furnace operation and casting. Conditions within the blast furnace vary widely by region and the refractories are subjected to a variety of wear mechanisms. Details are given in Tab 1. The application condition of different regions of a blast furnace is not the same due to the very nature of its geometry and also due to the pyrometallurgical process occurring at different stages. There are diverse physical and chemical wear mechanisms in the different regions of the blast furnace and they are complex in nature. For example mechanical wear or abrasion occurs mainly in the upper stack region and is caused by the decent of the charge materials and by the dust laden gases. High thermal loads are a major factor in the lower stack and the belly regions. In the hearth region, horizontal and vertical flow of hot metal combined with thermal stresses often form undesirable elephant foot shaped cavitation. The refractory materials in these regions are to take care of these wear mechanisms to avoid damage due to them. Therefore, the BF stack (upper middle and lower), belly, bosh, raceway and tuyere region, hearth, and taphole all require different quality of refractories depending on the respective application conditions. Tab 1 Attack mechanisms in different regions of blast furnace       Region Attack mechanism Resulting damage       Upper stack Abrasion...