factors that affects properties of steel

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Mechanical Engineering

STEELSub:- Material Science & Metallurgy

Prepared By: - Sagathiya Naisarg

STEELSteel is also produced from pig iron by removing the impurities and by decreasing the carbon content.Pig iron is again heated and the excess carbon is removed as CO2 gas and the oxides of other impurities form a slag on top of the molten steel.

Steel ProductionFerrous metals are those metals that contain Iron.The steel production process might be divided into three phases:Reduction of iron to pig ironRefining pig iron to steelForming the steel into products

Composition of SteelThe essential difference between cast iron and steel is in the amount of carbon contained in the constituency of the metal.Steel is fundamentally an alloy of iron and carbon with carbon content less than 1.5% while cast iron is an alloy of iron and carbon with carbon content ranging between 1.5 to 4% .

FACTORS THAT AFFECT PROPERTIES OF STEELSCarbon contentHeat treatment and shaping methodPresence of harmful elementsPresence of alloying materials.

Allotropic forms of ironElements or compounde exist in more than one crystalline form under different conditions of temperature and pressure.This phenomenon is called allotropy or polymorphism.Allotropy is characterised by a change in atomic structure which occure at a difinite transformation temperature.

Fe-C True Equilibrium Diagram8A phase diagaram shows us the microstructure within a material as function of the material composition and material temperature


120010008006004000123490Lg +L + GraphiteLiquid +Graphite(Fe)Co , wt% C0.65

740CT(C) + Graphite1001153C


4.2 wt% C

a + g

8Cast irons have graphite





Cast iron


Pearlite and Cementine

Pearlite andCarbide



Definition of structuresVarious phases that appear on the Iron-Carbon equilibrium phase diagram are as under: AusteniteFerritePearliteCementiteMartensite*Ledeburite

Definition of structuresFerrite is known as solid solution.It is an interstitial solid solution of a small amount of carbon dissolved in (BCC) iron.stable form of iron below 912 deg.CThe maximum solubility is 0.025 % C at 723C and it dissolves only 0.008 % C at room temperature.It is the softest structure that appears on the diagram.

Definition of structuresPearlite is the eutectoid mixture containing 0.80 % C and is formed at 723C on very slow cooling.It is a very fine platelike or lamellar mixture of ferrite and cementite.The white ferritic background or matrix contains thin plates of cementite (dark).

Definition of structuresAustenite is an interstitial solid solution of Carbon dissolved in (F.C.C.) iron.Maximum solubility is 2.0 % C at 1130C.High formability, most of heat treatments begin with this single phase. It is normally not stable at room temperature. But, under certain conditions it is possible to obtain austenite at room temperature.

Definition of structuresCementite or iron carbide, is very hard, brittle intermetallic compound of iron & carbon, as Fe3C, contains 6.67 % C.It is the hardest structure that appears on the diagram, exact melting point unknown.Its crystal structure is orthorhombic.It is has low tensile strength (approx. 5,000 psi), but high compressive strength.

Definition of structures Martensite - a super-saturated solid solution of carbon in ferrite.It is formed when steel is cooled so rapidly that the change from austenite to pearlite is suppressed.The interstitial carbon atoms distort the BCC ferrite into a BC-tetragonal structure (BCT).; responsible for the hardness of quenched steel

Definition of structuresLedeburite is the eutectic mixture of austenite and cementite.It contains 4.3 percent C and is formed at 1130C.

Various Features of Fe-C diagram

Peritectic L + d = gEutectic L = g + Fe3CEutectoid g = a + Fe3CPhases present LReactions d BCC structureParamagneticg austeniteFCC structureNon-magneticductilea ferriteBCC structureFerromagneticFairly ductileFe3C cementiteOrthorhombicHardbrittleMax. solubility of C in ferrite=0.022%Max. solubility of C in austenite=2.11%

The Iron-Iron Carbide DiagramThe diagram shows three horizontal lines which indicate isothermal reactions (on cooling / heating): First horizontal line is at 1490C, where peritectic reaction takes place: Liquid + austeniteSecond horizontal line is at 1130C, where eutectic reaction takes place: liquid austenite + cementiteThird horizontal line is at 723C, where eutectoid reaction takes place:austenite pearlite (mixture of ferrite & cementite)

The Iron-Iron Carbide DiagramA map of the temperature at which different phase changes occur on very slow heating and cooling in relation to Carbon, is called Iron- Carbon Diagram.Iron- Carbon diagram shows the type of alloys formed under very slow cooling, proper heat-treatment temperature andhow the properties of steels and cast irons can be radically changed by heat-treatment.

Three Phase ReactionsPeritectic, at 1490 deg.C, with low wt% C alloys (almost no engineering importance).Eutectic, at 1130 deg.C, with 4.3wt% C, alloys called cast irons.Eutectoid, at 723 deg.C with eutectoid composition of 0.8wt% C, two-phase mixture (ferrite & cementite). They are steels.

References ) Article of Properties of steel from Wikipedia2) Book Of Material Science and Metallurgy By K. I. Parashivamurthy 3) Photos from Google.



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