Maraging steels gain many of their beneficial properties from heat treatments which induce the precipitation of intermetallic compounds. We consider here a two-stage heat-treatment, first involving austenitisation, followed by quenching to produce martensite and then an ageing treatment at a lower temperature to precipitation harden the martensite of a maraging steel. It is shown that with a suitable choice of the initial austenitisation temperature, the steel can be heat treated to produce enhanced toughness, strength and creep resistance. A combination of small angle neutron scattering, scanning electron microscopy, electron back-scattered diffraction, and atom probe tomography were used to relate the microstructural changes to mechanical properties. It is shown that such a combination of characterisation methods is necessary to quantify this complex alloy, and relate these microstructural changes to mechanical properties. It is concluded that a higher austenitisation temperature leads to a greater volume fraction of smaller Laves phase precipitates formed during ageing, which increase the strength and creep resistance but reduces toughness.
- Atom probe tomography
- Ductile to brittle transition temperature
- Laves phase
- Maraging steel
- Precipitation strengthening
- Small angle neutron scattering