Precipitation-hardening martensitic stainless steels rely on very fine precipitates for optimal mechanical performance. These multicomponent alloys are prone to clustering and precipitation reactions during tempering, where Cu is one of the alloying elements added to stimulate precipitation. It is efficient to use an integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) approach to tailor alloying and heat treatment for design of these alloys. The most promising physically based modelling of precipitation for this purpose at present is Langer-Schwartz-Kampmann-Wagner (LSKW) modelling within the CALPHAD framework. This approach has been successful for model alloys, but reliable results for multicomponent stainless steels are less common. Hence, we combine quantitative transmission electron microscopy and LSKW modelling to investigate the tempering of a martensitic stainless steel 15-5 PH at 500°C. The microstructural characterization shows that the Cu precipitation and growth occur in three stages: i) Cu BCC, ii) Cu 9R, and iii) Cu FCC, during tempering up to 1000h. The modelling predictions of size, volume fraction and number density of precipitates are in good agreement with the experimental results. Thus, the approach with a combination of quantitative electron microscopy and LSKW modelling using CALPHAD-type databases holds promise for further optimization of precipitation-hardening martensitic stainless steels.
Materials & design – Elsevier
Published: Apr 5, 2018
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