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.