Effect of niobium on the microstructure and mechanical properties of alloyed ductile irons and austempered ductile irons

Ahmed, Mostafa; Soliman, Mohamed A. GND; Youssef, Mervat; Bähr, Rüdiger; Nofal, Adel

In this research, different ductile irons and austempered ductile irons were successfully developed using several alloying contents of nickel, copper and microalloying with niobium. Additionally, special nanocarbon powder was added to the molten iron to enhance the nucleation tendency of spheroidal graphite and compensate for the possible negative effect of Nb addition on the nodule morphology. Metallographic analysis showed that increasing the niobium content in the alloy to 0.1 wt % raises the number of graphite eutectic cells and refines the final structure of the graphite. Moreover, the nodule count of graphite slightly increased, but it concurrently decreased the nodularity when the Nb amount reached 0.1 wt %. SEM micrographs illustrated that nano- to microsized niobium carbides (NbC) particles were dispersed in the matrix of the Nb microalloyed ductile irons. Both optical and SEM micrographs clearly showed that alloying of ductile irons with nickel, copper and microalloying with niobium had a significant effect on defining the final pearlite structure. Coarse, fine, broken and spheroidized pearlite structures were simultaneously observed in all investigated alloys. Dilatometry studies demonstrated that the nano NbC particles acted as nucleation sites for graphite and ferrite needles. Therefore, Nb addition accelerated the formation of ausferrite during the austempering stage. Finally, alloying with Cu, Ni and microalloying with Nb led to developing novel grades of ADI with excellent strength/ductility property combination.

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Ahmed, Mostafa / Soliman, Mohamed A. / Youssef, Mervat / et al: Effect of niobium on the microstructure and mechanical properties of alloyed ductile irons and austempered ductile irons. 2021.

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