Chapter 5 – Plain Carbon Steels

Chapter Objectives
List the composition of plain carbon steels Outline the various phases of crystalline structures of metals Recognize the various types of phases shown in the iron-carbon equilibrium diagram Identify the temperature ranges and structures for the slow cooling of various types of ironcarbon steels Effect of carbon on properties of carbon steels Classification and uses of plain carbon steels


0%): .increases the strength and hardness of steel (b) Phosphorous (not to exceed 0.helps to reduce the sulphur content .impurity from iron ore .05%): .04% 4 . allowable S and P contents to be less than 0.causes steel to be brittle For high quality steels.0% They contain the following elements: (a) Manganese (up to 1.Composition of steel Plain carbon steels contain mainly iron (Fe) and carbon (C) up to 2. max.impurity carried over from iron ore .causes the steel to be brittle 3 Composition of steel – cont’d (c) Sulphur (not to exceed 0.05%): .combines with Fe to form iron sulphide .

COBALT ( β) HEXAGONAL CLOSE-PACKED •BERYLLIUM •MAGNESIUM •ZINC •CADMIUM •COBALT ( α) Crystal Lattice Structures 6 . atoms align themselves in an orderly pattern or space lattice that forms crystals (grain structure) 3 main types of crystal lattice structure: (i) body centered cubic (BCC). (ii) face centred cubic (FCC) and (iii) hexagonal close-packed (HCP) Iron is an allotropic material It can exist in more than one crystal lattice structure 5 Structure Of Plain Carbon Steels – cont’d BODY CENTERED CUBIC •VANADIUM •MOLYBDENUM •TUNGSTEN •IRON (α) •CHROMIUM ( α) FACE-CENTERED CUBIC •COPPER •SILVER •GOLD •ALUMINIUM •LEAD •IRON (γ) •CHROMIUM ( β) •NICKEL •PLATINUM.Structure Of Plain Carbon Steels When metals solidify from molten to solid state.

0%C at a temperature of 1147oC α iron will dissolve up to 0.006%C at room temperature 8 . refer to as gamma ( γ) iron Above 14000C to 1538oC it reverts to BCC crystals.Structure Of Plain Carbon Steels – cont’d Below 910oC iron forms body‑ centred cubic (BCC) crystals.02%C at a temperature of 723oC and 0. refers as delta (δ) iron 7 Structure Of Plain Carbon Steels – cont’d γ iron will dissolve up to 2. refer to as alpha (α) iron From 910oC to 1400oC it forms face‑ centred cubic (FCC) crystals.

.Called Acm line for hypereutectoid steels Lower critical temperature (723 oC line) .Called the A1 line and is constant at 723 oC Eutectoid point (Point E) 10 . show transformations in very slow cooling equilibrium conditions 9 Features Of Iron-Carbon Equilibrium Diagram Upper critical temperature (line AEB) . changes in steel structure will occur on heating & cooling through transformation Fe-C equilibrium diagram will temp.Called A3 line for hypoeutectoid steels.Iron-Carbon Equilibrium Diagram Allotropic changes that take place in Fe is influenced by carbon As solubility of carbon in iron alters.

11 Lower Critical Temperature (LCT) This line is also called the A1 line and it is constant at 723oC. the steel will be wholly austenitic. If temperature is above this line. For hypereutectoid steels. if temperature is between the A3 line and 723oC line – phases are austenite and ferrite. if temperature is between the Acm line and 723oC line – the phases will be austenite and cementite. 12 . For hypoeutectoid steels. This is the temperature at which austenite will transform into pearlite upon cooling under equilibrium condition (extremely slow cooling). For hypereutectoid steels – Line EB on the ironequilibrium diagram.Upper Critical Temperature (UCT) For hypoeutectoid steels – Line AE on the ironcarbon diagram.

excess of C combines with Fe to form Fe 3C . of 2. low strength and magnetic (up to 770 oC) 14 .0%C at 1147 0C .a weak solution of carbon in BCC iron.8%. Soft.hardest and most brittle (b) AUSTENITE (γ iron): . ductile.contains up to a max. The composition of steel at this point is called eutectoid composition .it has a face-centred cubic structure . the austenite transforms almost immediately to pearlite. When the temperature falls below 723oC. . soft and ductile (c) FERRITE (α iron): .contains 6. of 0. falling to 0. 13 Iron-carbon equilibrium diagram – cont’d Types of phases in carbon steels: (a) CEMENTITE (Iron carbide): .67%C.non-magnetic.contains up to a max.02%C at 723oC.Eutectoid Point This is the point at which the carbon composition is 0.006%C at 20oC .

eutectoid mixture containing 0.8%C occurs at 723oC .Iron-carbon equilibrium diagram – cont’d (d) PEARLITE: .hardness between hard cementite and soft ferrite Note: A lamellar structure is one that consists of alternate layers of ferrite and cementite 15 Iron-carbon equilibrium diagram – cont’d Steels can be differentiated into three types when referring to the iron-carbon phase diagram: (i) Hypo-eutectoid steels (ii) Hyper-eutectoid steels (iii) Eutectoid steels 16 .has lamellar structure of ferrite and cementite .

.8% carbon.Above the upper critical temperature . .Between upper critical temperature and 723 oC. the phases are austenite and cementite.At room temperature. the steel is wholly austenitic.8% carbon . At room temperature .Below 723oC. . . the structures are pearlite and cementite. the microstructure consists of pearlite and cementite. 18 .Iron-carbon equilibrium diagram – cont’d Hypo-eutectoid Steels These steels contain less than 0. the microstructures consist of ferrite and pearlite. 17 Iron-carbon equilibrium diagram – cont’d Hyper-eutectoid Steels These steels contain more than 0. the phases are ferrite and austenite. the steel is wholly austenitic. Above upper critical temperature . the structures are ferrite and pearlite. Below 723oC. Between upper critical temperature and o 723 C.

austenite will form layers of ferrite and cementite called pearlite 6) Below 7230C.): Formation of Austenite and Ferrite complete 5) At 7230C. at about 8250C Ferrite will start to grow at grain boundaries of austenite.Bulk of carbon remains in austenite 4) Just above 723 0C (Lower Critical Temp.The transformation is almost immediate from austenite to pearlite. Upper Critical Temp. 19 CASE 1: Steel containing 0.At a temperature above eutectoid temperature (723oC). .Microstructure is mainly pearlite at room temperature. .Iron-carbon equilibrium diagram – cont’d These steels contain 0. final structure is ferrite and pearlite 20 .4%C (hypo ‑ eutectoid steel) On cooling from 1600 0C: 1) At Q1 it begins to solidify at 15000C 2) At S1 solidification is complete at 14500C Structure of uniform austenite 3) At U1.8% carbon. the steel is wholly austenitic. .

(9000C).8%C Below 7230C.8%C (Eutectoid Steel) 1) 2) 3) At Q2. mainly at grain boundaries of austenite At 7230C. Structure of uniform austenite forms At U3. it begins to solidify by depositing dendrites (type of crystal growth) of austenite at 14800C At S3.CASE 2: Steel containing 0.2%C(Hyper ‑ eutectoid steel) 1) At Q3. solidification complete at 13500C. it begins to solidify as austenite at 1490 0C At S2. solidification complete at 1410 0C Upper critical and lower critical temperatures coincide at E (723 0C): No change in austenite structure Below E (723 0C) austenite will transform to final structure of pearlite 4) 21 CASE 3: Steel containing 1. cementite forms in needle ‑ like crystals. upper critical temp. remaining austenite changes to final structure of pearlite and cementite 22 2) 3) 4) 5) . remaining austenite will reduce to 0.

Effect Of Carbon On Properties Of Plain Carbon Steels Increase the amount of carbon in medium carbon steels promotes the formation of cementite This results in an increased presence of pearlite. tougher and harder but less ductile 23 Uses Of Plain Carbon Steels Plain carbon steels can be classified according to their carbon contents along with their uses as follows: 24 . making such steels stronger.