In this study, mechanical tests and microstructural analyses including TEM analyses with EDX of precipitates in modified 9Cr-1Mo steel were carried out to determine the cause of embrittlement observed after heat-treatment, which limits the usage of the alloy for power plants. Mod. 9Cr-1Mo steel specimens at austenite temperature were quenched to the molten salt baths at 760˚C and 700˚C, in which the specimens were kept for 10 min ~ 10 hr with subsequent air-cooling. Impact tests showed that the impact value dropped abruptly when the specimens were kept longer than 30 min at ~760˚C reaching to minima in about 1 hr, and then increasing at further retention. The tensile strength of the specimens reached the minimum value without much change afterward, whereas the values of elongation showed the same trend as that of the impact value. The isothermally heat-treated steel at 700˚C also showed a minimum impact value in about 1 hr. These results suggest that the isothermal heattreatment at 760 and 700˚C for about 1 hr induces temporal embrittlement in Mod. 9Cr-1Mo steel. The microstructural examination of all the specimens with extraction replica of the carbides revealed that the specimens with temporal embrittlement had Cr2C, indicating that the cause of the embrittlement was the precipitation of the Cr2C. In addition, TEM/EDX results showed that the Fe/Cr ratio was 0.033 to 0.055 for Cr2C, whereas it was 0.48 to 0.75 for Cr23C6, making the distinction of the Cr2C and Cr23C6 possible even without direct electron diffraction analyses.
It is well known that modified 9Cr-1Mo steel has a low thermal expansion and high thermal conductivity with excellent high temperature properties compared to austenitic stainless steel. For these advantages, the steel is very popular for the boiler tube of thermal power plants. Normalizing is commonly utilized to obtain martensite in this steel, which shows an unusual toughness for martensite. However, some accidents related to this steel have been reported recently, opening the necessity for further study. As a particular behavior of the steel, an abrupt drop of the impact value has been identified upon tempering at 750˚C for about 1 hour. It is well known that Fe3C forms during autotempering and turns to Cr2C at an early stage and then transforms to Cr23C6. In this study, the cause of the abrupt drop of the impact value was investigated with an impact test, microstructural observation, nanodiffraction and phase analyses using instruments such as optical and transmission electron microscopes (TEM) with an extraction carbon replica of the carbides. The analyses revealed that the M2C that formed when retained for about 1 hour at 750˚C causes a drastic decrease in the mechanical properties. The sharp drop in mechanical properties, however, disappeared as the M2C transformed into M23C6 with longer retention.
The purpose of this study is to establish powder metallurgy (P/M) fabrication processes for high performance 2XXX Al composites reinforced with SiC whiskers. Rapidly solidified 2XXX Al powders produced by commercial atomization technique were mixed with SiC whiskers. The results of mixing processes indicated that fluidized zone mixing technique was considerably effective for the large scale production of the mixture of Al powders and whiskers. In order to consolidate these mixtures into composite billets, a vacuum hot press was set up, and hot processing variables were investigated. Using the hot pressing temperature of under the pressure of 50 MPa, good quality composite billets having relatively homogeneous microstructure and sound Al/sic interfacial bonding were obtained. Composite billets were then extruded to bars having relatively homogeneous microstructures at the extrusion temperature of 450~ under the extrusion pressure of 700~ 1000 MPa. Mechanical properties of the extruded bars were found to be comparable with those of the composite processed by Advanced Composite Materials Corp. To improve mechanical properties of the composites, elimination of coarse intermetallic compounds, uniform distribution of reinforcements, and minimization of whisker breakage are suggested.