Image icon  Fe, C 2, Mn 0.7 (wt%) steel, quenched, producing martensite and cracking

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Description: This steel was quenched from the austenite phase field too rapidly for carbon to diffuse out and form cementite. This resulted in the formation of the brittle martensite phase. This phase is unable to accommodate volume changes plastically and may therefore fail, nucleating cracks as seen in this sample. The different colours in the micrograph are an artefact of the etching process.
Keywords: alloy • carbon • iron • martensite • metal • quenching • steel
Categories: Science approaches > Microstructure
Materials > Metals & alloys > Alloy steels
Processes > Thermal treatments > Quenching
Testing, analysis & experimentation > Metallography
Scale > Micro
Created by: DoITPoMS, University of Cambridge
Dr R F Cochrane, Department of Materials, University of Leeds
Published by: DoITPoMS, University of Cambridge
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Date created: 04 September 2002
Date added: 21 August 2009
Resource ID: 1316