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Technical Paper

Effects of Pre-Strain on Properties of Low-Carbon Sheet Steels Tested over a Wide Range of Strain Rates

Knowledge of high strain-rate deformation behavior of automotive body structural materials is of importance for design of new vehicles with improved crash-energy management characteristics. Since a large range of plastic strains is encountered during the forming process prior to assembly, the mechanical behavior of sheet steels under high strain rate deformation conditions must be understood after pre-straining, in addition to the as-produced condition. This paper presents the compression testing methodology employed to examine these properties, and focuses on the effects of quasi-static pre-strains (from 0 to 20%) on the subsequent behavior of a low carbon interstitial free steel tested over a broad range of strain rates (from 10−2 to 103s−1). The results suggest that the increase in yield stress associated with increasing strain rate is not substantially influenced by prior cold work.
Technical Paper

Influence of Coating Microstructure on the Fatigue Properties of Zinc Coated Sheet Steels

The influence of coatings on fatigue behavior has been examined for the following commercially produced sheet steels: uncoated titanium stabilized interstitial-free (IF); electrogalvanized titanium stabilized IF; hot-dip galvanized aluminum killed, drawing quality (AKDQ); and galvannealed AKDQ. Fully reversed bending fatigue tests were conducted at ambient temperature on Krouse-type flexural fatigue machines. A dependence of crack development was observed and correlated to the microstructure and properties of the different coatings. Furthermore, a functional design relationship for each material was determined through stress-life analysis. The experimentally determined fatigue properties were compared to conventional estimates based on tensile properties which ignore coating effects. The results of this work suggest that ductile coatings may enhance fatigue resistance, while brittle coatings may reduce fatigue life.
Technical Paper

Bending Fatigue Performance of Carburized 4320 Steel

The bending fatigue performance of four heats of carburized, commercially-produced SAE 4320 steel was evaluated. Simulated gear tooth in bending (SGTB) cantilever beam specimens from each heat were identically carburized and fatigue tested in the direct quenched condition after carburizing. The microstructure and fracture surfaces of all specimens were characterized with light and electron microscopy. The four direct quenched sets of specimens performed similarly in low cycle fatigue. Endurance limits among the direct quenched specimens ranged between 1100 and 1170 MPa (160 and 170 ksi) and intergranular cracking dominated fatigue crack initiation. An additional set of specimens from one of the heats was reheated after carburizing. The fatigue performance of the reheated specimens was superior to that of the direct quenched specimens in both the low and high cycle regions. The effects of inclusion content, microstructure, and residual stresses on fatigue performance are discussed.
Technical Paper

Bending Fatigue Crack Characterization and Fracture Toughness of Gas Carburized SAE 4320 Steel

Crack initiation and propagation in an SAE 4320 steel gas carburized to a 1.0 mm case depth was examined in specimens subjected to bending fatigue. Cellulose acetate replicas of incrementally loaded specimens showed that small, intergranular cracks were initiated during static loading to stress levels just above the endurance limit. The intergranular cracks arrest and serve as initiation sites for semi-elliptical, transgranular fatigue crack propagation. The maximum depth of stable crack propagation was between 0.17 and 0.23 mm, a depth which corresponds to the maximum hardness of the carburized case. Three equations which provide approximations to the stress distribution in the fatigue specimens were used to calculate KIC for the carburized case with values of maximum applied stress and measured stable crack geometry.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Hole Expansion Properties of Quench & Partitioned, Quench & Tempered and Austempered Steels

Quenching & Partitioning (Q&P) is receiving increased attention as a novel Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) processing route as promising tensile properties of the “third generation” have been reported. The current contribution reports hole expansion ratios (HER) of Q&P steels and compares the values with HERs obtained for “conventional” AHSS processing routes such as austempering and Quench & Tempering (Q&T). Intercritically annealed C-Mn-Al-Si-P and fully austenitized C-Mn-Si microstructures were studied. Optimum combinations of tensile strength and HER were obtained for fully austenitized C-Mn-Si Q&P samples. Higher HER values were obtained for Q&P than for Q&T steels for similar tempering/partitioning temperatures. Austempering following intercritical annealing results in higher HER than Q&P at similar tensile strength levels. In contrast, Q&P following full austenitization results in higher hole expansion than austempering even at higher strength levels.
Technical Paper

Bending Fatigue Properties of Prestrained Interstitial Free Zinc-Coated Sheet Steels

The effects of prestrain and zinc coating type on the bending fatigue behavior of titanium-stabilized interstitial free steel were evaluated. From a single zinc bath chemistry, coated sheet steel samples were prepared with either a hot dip galvanized or galvannealed coating. Uniaxial tensile prestrains of 2 and 4 pct. were introduced parallel to the rolling direction on 12.7 cm wide strips. Krouse-type fatigue samples were machined both parallel and transverse to the rolling/prestrain direction. Reversed bending S-N fatigue data showed that the fatigue resistance depended on a complex interaction between the strength increase due to work hardening and fatigue crack development as altered by the presence of the coatings. For both coating types the fatigue resistance increased with prestrain. During prestrain, coating cracks oriented perpendicular to the tensile prestrain direction developed and the crack density was greater in the galvannealed materials.
Technical Paper

Bending Fatigue of Carburized Steels: A Statistical Analysis of Process and Microstructural Parameters

A large set of bending fatigue data on carburized steels has been statistically analyzed to quantitatively describe the effects of process and microstructural variables. Increasing demands on gear steels require a broad examination of past bending fatigue research to reveal the primary factors that determine fatigue performance and guide future gear steel design. Fatigue performance was correlated to specimen characteristics such as retained austenite content, case and core grain size, extent of intergranular oxidation, surface roughness, and the case profiles of residual stress, hardness, and carbon content. Prior austenite grain size in the case and surface residual stress were found to most strongly influence bending fatigue endurance limit. A multiple regression model to predict endurance limit achieved an R-squared value of 0.56.
Technical Paper

Fatigue of Microalloyed Bar Steels

The fatigue behavior of five microalloyed steels, processed with hardnesses between 25-28 HRC containing microstructures ranging from precipitation-hardened ferrite-pearlite to bainite, were evaluated in both low cycle (strain controlled) and high cycle (stress controlled fatigue. The vanadium-bearing steels included, 15R30V, 1522 MoVTi, 1522 MoVTiS, 1534 MoVTi, and 1534 MoVTiSi. Conventional quench and tempered 4140 steel was used as a reference. Low cycle fatigue (LCF) data for all steels were similar. Subtle microstructural-dependent differences in the high-strain amplitude region of the LCF curves were attributed to the effects of retained austenite, present in some of the non-traditional bainitic steels. In high cycle fatigue, all steels exhibited similar properties, except for the ferrite-pearlite steel (15R30V) which exhibited the lowest endurance limit, an observation which was attributed to crack nucleation in coarse-grained ferrite.
Technical Paper

Investigation of the Effect of Sample Size on Fatigue Endurance Limit of a Carburized Steel

Prediction of fatigue performance of large structures and components is generally done through the use of a fatigue analysis software, FEA stress/strain analysis, load spectra, and materials properties generated from laboratory tests with small specimens. Prior experience and test data has shown that a specimen size effect exists, i.e. the fatigue strength or endurance limit of large members is lower than that of small specimens made of same material. Obviously, the size effect is an important issue in fatigue design of large components. However a precise experimental study of the size effect is very difficult for several reasons. It is difficult to prepare geometrically similar specimens with increased volume which have the same microstructures and residual stress distributions throughout the entire material volume to be tested. Fatigue testing of large samples can also be a problem due to the limitation of load capacity of the test systems available.
Technical Paper

Investigation of S-N Test Data Scatter of Carburized 4320 Steel

A series of bending fatigue tests were conducted and S-N data were obtained for two groups of 4320 steel samples: (1) carburized, quenched and tempered, (2) carburized, quenched, tempered and shot peened. Shot peening improved the fatigue life and endurance limit. The S-N data exhibited large scatter, especially for carburized samples and at the high cycle life regime. Sample characterization work was performed and scatter bands were established for residual stress distributions, in addition to fracture and fatigue properties for 4320 steel. Moreover, a fatigue life analysis was performed using fracture mechanics and strain life fatigue theories. Scatter in S-N curves was established computationally by using the lower bound and upper bound in materials properties, residual stress and IGO depth in the input data. The results for fatigue life analysis, using either computational fracture mechanics or strain life theory, agreed reasonably well with the test data.
Technical Paper

The Fatigue Performance of High Temperature Vacuum Carburized Nb Modified 8620 Steel

The bending fatigue performance of high temperature (1050 °C) vacuum carburized Nb modified 8620 steel, with niobium additions of 0.02, 0.06 and 0.1 wt pct, was evaluated utilizing a modified Brugger specimen geometry. Samples were heated at two different rates (20 and 114 °C min-1) to the carburizing temperature resulting in different prior austenite grain structures that depended on the specific Nb addition and heating rate employed. At the lower heating rate, uniform fine grained prior austenite grain structures developed in the 0.06 and 0.1 Nb steels while a duplex grain structure with the presence of large (>200 μm grains) developed in the 0.02 Nb steel. At the higher heating rate the propensity for abnormal grain growth was highest in the 0.02 Nb steel and complete suppression of abnormal grain growth was achieved only with the 0.1 Nb steel.
Technical Paper

Effects of Silicon and Boron Additions on the Susceptibility to Quench Embrittlement and the Bending Fatigue Performance of Vacuum Carburized Modified 4320 Steel

The effect of B and Si additions on fracture and fatigue performance of vacuum carburized 4320 steel and modifications of 4320 steel containing additions of Si (1.0 and 2.0 wt pct) and B (0 and 17 ppm) was evaluated by bending fatigue testing. Three rates of gas quenching, in 10 bar nitrogen and 15 and 20 bar helium, were used to cool specimens after carburizing. The B, protected by Ti additions, together with the Si additions, increased core hardenability. The B/Si modified steels showed no improvement in fatigue resistance, as measured by endurance limits established by 10 million cycle runouts without fracture. However, scanning electron microscopy showed that Si reduced sensitivity to intergranular fracture or quench embrittlement, a major cause of bending fatigue crack initiation, and contributed to variable fatigue performance, with both low-cycle failures and runout performance at applied stresses significantly above measured endurance limits.
Technical Paper

Effect of Thermal Treatments and Carbon Potential on Bending Fatigue Performance of SAE 4320 Gear Steel

This project investigated the effect of carburizing carbon-potential and thermal history on the bending fatigue performance of carburized SAE 4320 gear steel. Modified-Brugger cantilever bending fatigue specimens were carburized at carbon potentials of 0.60, 0.85, 1.05, and 1.25 wt. pct. carbon, and were either quenched and tempered or quenched, tempered, reheated, quenched, and tempered. The reheat treatment was designed to lower the solute carbon content in the case through the formation of transition carbides and refine the prior austenite grain size. Specimens were fatigue tested in a tension/tension cycle with a minimum to maximum stress ratio of 0.1. The bending fatigue results were correlated with case and core microstructures, hardness profiles, residual stress profiles, retained austenite profiles, and component distortion.
Technical Paper

Bending Fatigue Performance of Gas- and Plasma-Carburized Steels

This study evaluated the bending fatigue performance of a modified SAE 4320 steel as a function of carburizing technique. S-N curves and endurance limits were established by fatigue testing modified Brugger-type specimens that are designed to simulate a single gear tooth. Fractured specimens were examined by light and electron microscopy to determine crack initiation sites, establish the extent of stable crack propagation, and analyze surface oxide types and distributions. Test results show that plasma-carburizing boosted the endurance limit of an oxidation-susceptible gear steel from 1100 MPa to 1375 MPa. Fatigue endurance limits in excess of 1400 MPa had previously been achieved in gas-carburized SAE 4320 steels by reheat treatments and reductions in high-oxidation potential elements. The level of improvement observed in this study suggests that any of these advanced processing techniques can allow significant size reductions and weight savings in automotive transmission gears.
Technical Paper

Deep Rolling Response of Notched Medium Carbon Bar Steels

The effects of deep rolling were evaluated by reviewing the fatigue performance of three medium-carbon (0.4 C) bar steels representing microstructural classes characteristic of forging steels used for crankshaft and other automotive applications. Deep rolling is a surface deformation process whereby a radially symmetric work piece undergoes a surface deformation operation. The steel grades included a quenched and tempered alloy steel (4140) that demonstrated a high yield stress and low strain hardening rate, a non-traditional bainitic experimental grade (1.2 Mn, 0.72 Si) containing high amounts of retained austenite with low yield stress and high strain hardening rate, and a ferritic/pearlitic grade (1.3 Mn, 0.56 Si) with a low yield stress and medium strain rate hardening rate. A reproducible test methodology to assess fatigue behavior was developed, based on flex-beam, fully reversed, S-N type laboratory fatigue testing.
Technical Paper

Assessment of the Strain-Rate Dependent Tensile Properties of Automotive Sheet Steels

High strain rate test methods to obtain strain-rate dependent sheet steel tensile properties are considered. A tensile test method for sheet steels was developed to obtain accurate stress-strain data over the strain rate range from 0.001 s-1 to 500 s-1 using a servo-hydraulic test machine and tensile samples instrumented with strain gages. Results on several different automotive sheet steels, including interstitial free (IF), high strength low alloy (HSLA), dual phase (DP), and transformation induced plasticity (TRIP) steels, are presented. The results show that strain rate response differs between the various alloy systems. These results are compared with previously published data on strain-rate dependent steel properties. The importance of stress-strain curve shapes, which depend on alloy system, on energy absorption calculations using areas under stress-strain curves are also described.
Technical Paper

Effects of Testing Temperature on the Fatigue Behavior of Carburized Steel

The effects of elevated testing temperature on the fatigue behavior of carburized steel were evaluated by testing modified Brügger bending fatigue specimens at room temperature, 90 °C and 150 °C. SAE 4023, SAE 4320, and SAE 9310 steel were studied to assess the influence of alloy content and stability of retained austenite. Fatigue samples were gas-carburized and tested in air at 30 Hz with a stress ratio of 0.1. An infrared spot lamp was used to heat samples to 90 °C (150 °F) or 150 °C (302 °F) during testing. S-N curves were developed for the room temperature baseline tests as well as elevated temperature tests. The endurance limits determined are as follows: SAE 4023-RT (1170 MPa), SAE 4023-90°C (1140 MPa), SAE 4320-RT (1210 MPa), SAE 4320-90°C (1280 MPa), SAE 9310-RT (1380 MPa), SAE 9310-90°C (1240 MPa).
Technical Paper

Optimized Carburized Steel Fatigue Performance as Assessed with Gear and Modified Brugger Fatigue Tests

The effectiveness of three different techniques, designed to improve the bending fatigue life in comparison to conventionally processed gas-carburized 8620 steel, were evaluated with modified Brugger bending fatigue specimens and actual ring and pinion gears. The bending fatigue samples were machined from forged gear blanks from the same lot of material used for the pinion gear tests, and all processing of laboratory samples and gears was done together. Fatigue data were obtained on standard as-carburized parts and after three special processing histories: shot-peening to increase surface residual stresses; double heat treating to refined austenite grain size; and vacuum carburizing to minimize intergranular oxidation. Standard room-temperature S-N curves and endurance limits were obtained with the laboratory samples. The pinions were run as part of a complete gear set on a laboratory dynamometer and data were obtained at two imposed torque levels.
Technical Paper

Prepainted Sheet Steel for Outer Automobile Body Panels: Paint Deformation Behavior

The paint deformation behavior in fully prepainted sheet steel intended for outer automobile body panels is examined in three categories: paint sliding behavior during forming, paint surface roughening during straining leading to loss of coating reflectivity, and dry heat cracking (i.e. time and temperature dependent post-forming paint cracking resulting from viscoelastic strain relaxation). The main findings are: frictional behavior is dictated by the outer coating while pigment particles tend to decrease the measured coefficient of friction; the loss of distinctiveness of image with strain is a result of shear band formation, an inherent deformation mechanism within the polymer coatings; and, dry heat cracks evolve in a two step process where crack nuclei develop during forming and grow as a result of viscoelastic strain relaxation in the coating upon subsequent exposure to heat.
Journal Article

Hydrogen Embrittlement of Commercially Produced Advanced High Strength Sheet Steels

The susceptibility of Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS) to hydrogen embrittlement (HE) was evaluated on selected high strength sheet steels (DP 600, TRIP 780, TRIP 980, TWIP-Al, TWIP, and Martensitic M220) and the results were compared to data on a lower strength (300 MPa tensile strength) low carbon steel. Tensile samples were cathodically charged and then immediately tensile tested to failure to analyze the mechanical properties of the as-charged steel. The effects of hydrogen on deformation and fracture behavior were evaluated through analysis of tensile properties, necking geometry, and SEM images of fracture surfaces and metallographic samples of deformed tensile specimens. The two fully austenitic TWIP steels were resistant to hydrogen effects in the laboratory charged tensile samples.