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An Atom Probe Study of Kappa Carbide Precipitation and the Effect of Silicon Addition
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A
  • Laura Bartlett, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • David C. Van Aken, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Julia E. Medvedeva, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Dieter Isheim
  • Nadezhda I. Medvedeva
  • Kai Song

The influence of silicon on K-carbide precipitation in lightweight austenitic Fe-30Mn-9Al-(0.59-1.56)Si-0.9C-0.5Mo cast steels was investigated utilizing transmission electron microscopy, 3D atom-probe tomography, X-ray diffraction, ab initio calculations, and thermodynamic modeling. Increasing the amount of silicon from 0.59 to 1.56 pct Si accelerated formation of the K-carbide precipitates but did not increase the volume fraction. Silicon was shown to increase the activity of carbon in austenite and stabilize the K-carbide at higher temperatures. Increasing the silicon from 0.59 to 1.56 pct increased the partitioning coefficient of carbon from 2.1 to 2.9 for steels aged 60 hours at 803 K (530 °C). The increase in strength during aging of Fe-Mn-Al-C steels was found to be a direct function of the increase in the concentration amplitude of carbon during spinodal decomposition. The predicted increase in the yield strength, as determined using a spinodal hardening mechanism, was calculated to be 120 MPa/wt pct Si for specimens aged at 803 K (530 °C) for 60 hours and this is in agreement with experimental results. Silicon was shown to partition to the austenite during aging and to slightly reduce the austenite lattice parameter. First-principles calculations show that the Si-C interaction is repulsive and this is the reason for enhanced carbon activity in austenite. The lattice parameter and thermodynamic stability of K-carbide depend on the carbon stoichiometry and on which sublattice the silicon substitutes. Silicon was shown to favor vacancy ordering in K-carbide due to a strong attractive Si-vacancy interaction. It was predicted that Si occupies the Fe sites in nonstoichiometric K-carbide and the formation of Si-vacancy complexes increases the stability as well as the lattice parameter of K-carbide. A comparison of how Si affects the enthalpy of formation for austenite and K-carbide shows that the most energetically favorable position for silicon is in austenite, in agreement with the experimentally measured partitioning ratios.

Materials Science and Engineering
Second Department
Research Center/Lab(s)
Center for High Performance Computing Research
Keywords and Phrases
  • Aluminum,
  • Austenite,
  • Calculations,
  • Carbides,
  • Carbon,
  • Lattice Constants,
  • Manganese,
  • Probes,
  • Spinodal Decomposition,
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy,
  • X Ray Diffraction,
  • Ab Initio Calculations,
  • Atom Probe Tomography,
  • Carbide Precipitate,
  • Carbide Precipitation,
  • Enthalpy of Formation,
  • First-Principles Calculation,
  • Partitioning Coefficients,
  • Thermodynamic Model,
  • Silicon
Document Type
Article - Journal
Document Version
File Type
© 2014 Springer US, All rights reserved.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Laura Bartlett, David C. Van Aken, Julia E. Medvedeva, Dieter Isheim, et al.. "An Atom Probe Study of Kappa Carbide Precipitation and the Effect of Silicon Addition" Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A Vol. 45 Iss. 5 (2014) p. 2421 - 2435 ISSN: 1073-5623
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