Multiple studies on the microstructures of advanced high-strength steels are presented here that seek to add to the already substantial body of knowledge on martensite in steel. These studies seek to gain additional insight into the role that the martensite transformation has on the observed mechanical properties of modern steels. Crystallographic Reconstruction of Parent Austenite Twin Boundaries in a Lath Martensitic Steel The study of post-transformation microstructures and their properties can be greatly enhanced by studying their dependence on the grain boundary content of parent microstructures. Recent work has extended the crystallographic reconstruction of parent austenite in steels to include the reconstruction of special boundaries, such as annealing twins. These reconstructions present unique challenges, as twinned austenite grains share a subset of possible daughter variant orientations. This gives rise to regions of ambiguity in a reconstruction. A technique for the reconstruction of twin boundaries is presented here that is capable of reconstructing 60 degree twins, even in the case where twin regions are comprised entirely of variants that are common between the twin and the parent. This technique is demonstrated in the reconstruction of lath martensitic steels. The reconstruction method utilizes a delayed decision-making approach, where a chosen orientation relationship is used to define all possible groupings of daughter grains into possible parents before divisive decisions are made. These overlapping, inclusive groupings (called clusters) are compared to each other individually using their calculated parent austenite orientations and the topographical nature of the overlapping region. These comparisons are used to uncover possible locations of twin boundaries present in the parent austenite. This technique can be applied to future studies on the dependence of post-transformation microstructures on the special grain boundary content of parent microstructures. Coupling Kinetic Monte Carlo and Implicit Finite Element Methods for Predicting the Strain Path Sensitivity of the Mechanically Induced Martensite Transformation The kinetic Monte Carlo method is coupled with a finite-element solver to simulate the nucleation of martensite inside the retained austenite regions of a TRIP (transformation induced plasticity) assisted steel. Nucleation kinetics are expressed as a function of load path and kinematic coupling between retained austenite regions. The model for martensite nucleation incorporates known elements of the kinetics and crystallography of martensite. The dependence of martensite transformation on load path is simulated and compared to published experimental results. The differences in transformation rates of retained austenite are shown to depend on load path through the Magee effect. The effects of average nearest neighbor distance between austenite grains is shown to affect the rate at which martensite nucleates differently depending on load path. Ductility and Strain Localization of Advanced High-Strength Steel in the Presence of a Sheared Edge The localization of strain in the microstructures of DP 980 and TBF 980 is quantified and compared. Of particular interest is the difference in final elongation observed for both materials in the presence of a sheared edge. Scanning electron micrographs of etched microstructures near the sheared edge are gathered for both materials at varying amounts of macroscopic strain. These micrographs are used to generate strain maps using digital image correlation. A two point statistical measure for strain localization is developed that utilizes strain map data to quantify the degree to which strain localizes around the hard phase of both materials. The DP steel exhibits higher strain localization around the martensite phase. Reasons for differences in strain localization and shear banding between the two materials are suggested, and the role played by the mechanically induced martensite transformation is speculated.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





steel, martensite, kinetic Monte Carlo, finite element analysis, materials modeling, meso-scale modeling, microstructure, nucleation



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Engineering Commons