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A. Kaijalainen, N. Vähäkuopus, M. Somani, S. Mehtonen, D. Porter and J. Kömi

Abstract

This paper comprehends the effects of finish rolling temperature (FRT) and Nb-microalloying on the microstructural evolution and resultant properties of a low carbon direct quenched steel in the yield strength category of ≥900 MPa. Results indicate that a decrease in FRT close to Ar3 temperature significantly influenced the microstructure following phase transformation, especially at the subsurface (~50-400 μm) of the rolled strip. On decreasing the FRT, the subsurface microstructure revealed a fine mixture of ferrite and bainite obviously as a result of strain-induced transformation, whereas the structure at the centreline remained essentially martensitic. Further, Nb-microalloying promoted the formation of ferrite and bainite even at higher FRTs, thus influencing the mechanical properties. The microstructures of the hot-rolled strips were further corroborated with the aid of CCT diagrams.