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Abhinandan Viswananth (1RV11ME003)

Abhishek Kumtakar (1RV11ME004)
Amit Vijay Dodmani (1RV11ME016)
Brian Nikil Quadras (1RV11ME036)
G K Shivakumar (1RV11ME044)

Martensite: Rapidly cooled austenite.
No carbon diffusion - trapped in martensite.
Shear transformation involved.
Supersaturated solution of carbon in alpha iron
Trapped carbon induces built-in stresses. Martensite is
very hard and brittle.
Must be toughened by tempering.
End result is still harder and stronger than typical
slow-cooled pearlitic steel.

Definition of Martensite




Common Industrial processes

Rapid quenching of austenite to room temperature
often results in the formation of martensite.

A very hard structure in which the carbon,
formerly in solid solution in the austenite, remains
in solution in the new phase.

Unlike ferrite or pearlite, martensite forms by a sudden
shear process in the austenite lattice which is not
normally accompanied by atomic diffusion.

Ideally, the martensite reaction is a diffusion less shear
transformation, highly crystallographic in character,
which leads to a characteristic lath or lenticular


Microstructure of Martensite

The martensite reaction in steels normally
occurs athermally.

During cooling in a temperature range which
can be precisely defined for a particular steel.

The reaction begins at a martensitic start
temperature M
which can vary over a wide
temperature range from as high as 500C to well
below room temperature.

It depends on the concentration of -stabilizing
alloying elements in the steel.

Martensite Formation By Quenching

Once the M
is reached, further transformation takes place
during cooling until the reaction ceases at the M

At this temperature all the austenite should have transformed
to martensite but frequently, in practice, a small proportion of
the austenite does not transform.

Larger volume fractions of austenite are retained in some
highly alloyed steels, where the M
temperature is well below
room temperature.

Martensite is a supersaturated solid solution of carbon in
iron which has a body-centred tetragonal structure, a
distorted form of bcc iron.

It is interesting to note that carbon in interstitial solid
solution expands the fcc iron lattice uniformly.

But with bcc iron the expansion is nonsymmetrical
giving rise to tetragonal distortion.

Martensitic planes in steel are frequently not parallel-sided.

They are often perpendicular as a result of constraints in the
matrix, which oppose the shape change resulting from the

This is one of the reasons why it is difficult to identify
precisely habit planes in ferrous martensite.

All ferrous martensites show very high dislocation densities of
the order of 10
to 10
, which are similar to those of
very heavily cold-worked alloys.

Due to fast cooling, diffusion of carbon is restricted. To
make room for carbon atoms, the lattice stretches along
one crystal direction.

Lath martensite

This type of martensite is found in plain carbon and low
alloy steels up to about 0.5 wt% carbon.

The morphology is lath or plate-like, where the laths are
very long.

These are grouped together in packets with low angle
boundaries between each lath, although a minority of
laths is separated by high angle boundaries.

In plain carbon steels practically no twin-related laths
have been detected.

Lath Martensite

It is perhaps unfortunate that the term acicular is applied to
this type of martensite because its characteristic morphology
is that of perpendicular plates.

A fact easily demonstrated by examination of plates
intersecting two surfaces at right angles.

These plates first start to form in steels with about 0.5%
carbon, and can be concurrent with lath martensite in the
range 0.5 %-l.0 % carbon.

Light optical image of plate martensite in Fe-C

As-quenched martensite is too hard and brittle for most
practical uses, but it can be tempered to recover some
toughness and ductility.

Tempering consists of reheating the martensite to
temperatures typically between 275-750F (135400C)
for several hours.

During the temper heat treatment, carbides precipitate in
the martensite matrix

This transformation increases the toughness of the steel by the
carbide precipitates as well decreasing the carbon content of
the martensite. In some steels, an increase in strength and
toughness occurs.

For tempering, the important process parameters are
temperature and time.

The temperature must be selected to control the size and
distribution of the carbides that precipitate during the
tempering process and to convert any retained austenite to
tempered martensite.



The time must be long enough to heat the entire load to the
desired temperature. In addition, time is needed for the
nucleation and growth of the carbides to form the tempered

The rate of cooling from tempering temperature, though
not critical in many applications, must be rapid enough to
avoid temper embrittlement (TE and TME) conditions.

The process to prevent the formation of quench cracks in steel.

Cooling is carried as fast as possible, to a temperature over M
of steel.

The steel is maintained at T> M
untill the inner core and outer
surface of the steel are at the same temperature.

The steel is then cooled below M
to obtain 100% Martensite.

There is a need to increase the ductility of steel by tempering.