Production of a non-stoichiometric Nb-Ti HSLA steel by thermomechanical processing on a steckel mill
Área Ingeniería Mecánica, Naval y Aeronáutica
Controlled rolling
Thermomechanical processing
Accelerated cooling
High-strength low-alloy steels
Nb precipitation
TiC precipitation
Steckel mill
Non-stoichiometric alloy
Issue Date: 
Martins, C. A.; de Faria, G. L.; Mayo-Ijurra, U. (Unai); et al. "Production of a non-stoichiometric Nb-Ti HSLA steel by thermomechanical processing on a steckel mill". METALS. 13 (2), 2023, 405
Obtaining high levels of mechanical properties in steels is directly linked to the use of special mechanical forming processes and the addition of alloying elements during their manufacture. This work presents a study of a hot-rolled steel strip produced to achieve a yield strength above 600 MPa, using a niobium microalloyed HSLA steel with non-stoichiometric titanium (titanium/nitrogen ratio above 3.42), and rolled on a Steckel mill. A major challenge imposed by rolling on a Steckel mill is that the process is reversible, resulting in long interpass times, which facilitates recrystallization and grain growth kinetics. Rolling parameters whose aim was to obtain the maximum degree of microstructural refinement were determined by considering microstructural evolution simulations performed in MicroSim-SM (R) software and studying the alloy through physical simulations to obtain critical temperatures and determine the CCT diagram. Four ranges of coiling temperatures (525-550 degrees C/550-600 degrees C/600-650 degrees C/650-700 degrees C) were applied to evaluate their impact on microstructure, precipitation hardening, and mechanical properties, with the results showing a very refined microstructure, with the highest yield strength observed at coiling temperatures of 600-650 degrees C. This scenario is explained by the maximum precipitation of titanium carbide observed at this temperature, leading to a greater contribution of precipitation hardening provided by the presence of a large volume of small-sized precipitates. This paper shows that the combination of optimized industrial parameters based on metallurgical mechanisms and advanced modeling techniques opens up new possibilities for a robust production of high-strength steels using a Steckel mill. The microstructural base for a stable production of high-strength hot-rolled products relies on a consistent grain size refinement provided mainly by the effect of Nb together with appropriate rolling parameters, and the fine precipitation of TiC during cooling provides the additional increase to reach the requested yield strength values.

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