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The Effect of Pearlite Dissolution on the Transient Dynamic Strength of Rapidly-Heated Plain Carbon Steels



Steven Mates, Mark R. Stoudt, Sindhura Gangireddy


Carbon steels containing ferrite-pearlite microstructures weaken dramatically when pearlite dissolves into austenite on heating. The kinetics of this phase transformation, while fast, can play a role during dynamic, high temperature manufacturing processes, including high speed machining, when the time scale of this transformation is on the order of the manufacturing process itself. In such a regime, the mechanical strength of carbon steel can become time- dependent. The present work uses a rapidly-heated, high strain rate mechanical test to study the effect of temperature and time on the amount of pearlite dissolved and the resulting transient effect on dynamic strength of a low and a high carbon (eutectoid) steel. Measurements indicate that the transient effect occurs for heating times less than about three seconds. The 1075 steel loses about twice the strength compared to the 1018 steel (85 MPa to 45 MPa) owing to its higher initial pearlite volume fraction. Pearlite dissolution is confirmed by metallographic examination of tested samples. Despite the different starting pearlite fractions, the kinetics of dissolution are comparable for the two steels, owing to the similarity in their initial pearlite morphology.
Journal of Metals


Kolsky Bar, Machining, Materials Genome Initiative, High Strain Rate, Carbon Steel


Mates, S. , Stoudt, M. and Gangireddy, S. (2016), The Effect of Pearlite Dissolution on the Transient Dynamic Strength of Rapidly-Heated Plain Carbon Steels, Journal of Metals, [online],, (Accessed May 23, 2024)


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Created June 30, 2016, Updated July 16, 2021