Retained Austenite Stability and Impact Performance of Advanced High Strength Steel at Reduced Temperatures 2017-01-1707
Retained austenite stability to both mechanically induced transformation and athermal transformation is of great importance to the fabrication and in-vehicle performance of automotive advanced high strength steels. Selected cold-rolled advanced high strength steels containing retained austenite with minimum tensile strengths of 980 MPa and 1180 MPa were pre-strained to pre-determined levels under uniaxial tension in the rolling direction and subsequently cooled to temperatures as low as 77 K. Room temperature uniaxial tensile results of pre-strained and cooled steels indicate that retained austenite is stable to athermal transformation to martensite at all tested temperatures and pre-strain levels. To evaluate the combined effects of temperature and pre-strain on impact behavior, stacked Charpy impact testing was conducted on the same 980 MPa minimum tensile strength steel following similar pre-straining in uniaxial tension. A reduction in absorbed energy was observed with decreasing temperature and increasing pre-strain, indicating that thermal effects on plasticity, not athermal transformation to martensite, predominantly account for the observed reductions in impact energy at reduced temperatures.