Enhancing Mechanical Properties of Ductile Cast Iron Conrods through Different Heat Treatments
The Austempering heat treatment is a well-known solution to improve the mechanical properties of ductile cast irons, therefore being referred as 'ADI' (Austempered Ductile Iron). The improved mechanical properties of ADI's with respect to conventional ductile iron is attributed to its resulting microstructure, which contains mainly carbide-free bainite with stabilized retained austenite. More recently, ductile cast irons were submitted to another heat treatment, known as 'Quenching and Partitioning' (Q&P). In this case, the ductile cast iron is austenitized, quenched to a temperature between Mf and Ms temperatures and subsequently heated to a temperature above Ms in order to partition the carbon from the martensite to the remaining austenite. The resulting microstructure comprises mainly low carbon martensite, austenite (stabilized by the carbon partition) and carbide-free bainite. Such microstructure resulted in equal or better properties than ADI.