A high carbon, high silicon and high manganese steel containing about 1% carbon, 3.0% silicon and 2.0% manganese has been developed. This steel has been synthesized using the concepts from Austempered Ductile Cast Iron (ADI) technology. The influence of austempering process on the microstructure and the room temperature mechanical properties of this steel was investigated. The influence of microstructure on the plain strain fracture toughness of this new steel was also examined. Four batches of compact tension and cylindrical tensile samples were prepared from this steel as per ASTM standards E-399 and E-8 respectively. Two batches of specimens were processed by traditional quenching and tempering process while other two batches were austempered. The microstructures were characterized by X-ray diffraction and optical metallography.
The test results indicate that the austempering process has resulted in a significant improvement in mechanical properties as well as the fracture toughness of the material.