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The first austenitic manganese steel was developed in 1882 by Robert

Abbott Hadfield. Hadfield had done a series of test with adding ferromanganese containing 80 % manganese and 7 % carbon to
decarbonised iron. Increasing manganese and carbon contents led to
increasing brittleness up to 7.5 % manganese. At manganese
contents above 10 % however, the steel became remarkably tough.
The toughness increased by heating the steel to 1000 deg C followed
by water quenching, a treatment that would render carbon steel very
brittle. The alloy introduced commercially contained 1.2 % carbon (C)
and 12 % manganese (Mn) in a ratio of 1:10. This composition is used
even today, and the austenitic manganese steel is still known as
Hadfield steel. The steel was unique since it exhibited high toughness,
high ductility, high work hardening ability and excellent wear
resistance. Because of these properties Hadfields austenitic
manganese steel (AMS) gained rapid acceptance as a useful
engineering material.
Austenitic manganese steels have a proven high resistance to
abrasive wear including blows and metal-to-metal wear, even though
they have a low initial hardness. These steels are supposed to work
harden under use and thus give a hard wear resistant surface, but it
has been reported that these steels have a good wear resistance in
components even without heavy mechanical deformation.
Hadfield`s austenitic manganese steel is still used extensively, with
minor modifications in composition and heat treatment, primarily in
the fields of earthmoving, mining, quarrying, oil well drilling,
steelmaking, railroading, dredging, lumbering, and in the manufacture
of cement and clay products. Austenitic manganese steel is used in
equipment for handling and processing earthen materials (such as
rock crushers, grinding mills, dredge buckets, power shovel buckets
and teeth, and pumps for handling gravel and rocks). Other
applications include fragmentizer hammers and grates for automobile
recycling and military applications such as tank track pads etc.
At around 10 % manganese content the steel retains in its
austenite form at room temperature if cooled correctly. Both hardness
and ductility reach their highest points around 12 % manganese
depending on other alloying elements in steel. Typical microstructure
of AMS is shown in Fig 1.

Fig 1 Typical microstructure of austenitic manganese steel

The basic condition for the chemical composition of AMS is the ratio
Mn/C=>10. The upper borderline is normally 15 % Mn but in practice
this ratio can be increased to 20 % mostly in thick walled castings.
The main reason for using of high content of Mn is to improve the
Austenitic manganese steel is made by alloying steel containing 0.8 %
to 1.25 % carbon with 11 % to 15 % manganese. AMS has some
special properties that make it irreplaceable. It is unique non
magnetic steel with extreme anti wear properties. The high hardness
of face layers increases the abrasive wear resistance but since the
middle part keeps good toughness, the steel component support high
impact stress. The steel is very resistant to abrasion and achieves up
to three times its surface hardness during conditions of impact
without any increase in brittleness which is usually associated with
hardness. This allows AMS to retain its toughness.
Austenitic steels with higher manganese contents (>15%) have
recently been developed for applications requiring low magnetic
permeability, low temperature (cryogenic) strength and low
temperature toughness. This applications stem from the development
of superconducting technologies used in transportation systems and
nuclear fusion research and to meet the need for structural materials
to store and transport liquefied gases.
For low magnetic permeability, these alloys have lower carbon
content than the regular Hadfield steels. The corresponding loss in

yield strength is compensated by alloying with vanadium, nitrogen,

chromium, molybdenum, and titanium. Chromium also imparts
corrosion resistance, as required in some cryogenic applications.
Many variations of the Hadfields austenitic manganese steel have
been proposed, often in unexploited patents, but only a few have
been adopted as significant improvements. These usually involve
variations of carbon and manganese, with or without additional alloys
such as chromium, nickel, molybdenum, vanadium, titanium, and
AMS is heat treatable, but the manganese lowers the temperature at
which austenite transforms into ferrite. Most of the grades are ready
for use after annealing and then quenching from a yellow heat, with
no further need of tempering. These steels usually have a normal
Brinell hardness of around 200 HB (roughly the same as 304 stainless
steel), but, due to its unique properties, this number has very little
effect on determining the abrasion and impact resistance of these
Mechanical properties
The mechanical properties of austenitic manganese steel vary with
both carbon and manganese content. As carbon is increased it
becomes increasingly difficult to retain all of the carbon in solid
solution, which may account for reductions in tensile strength and
ductility. Nevertheless, as the carbon increases above 1.2 %, the
abrasion resistance increases, while the ductility is lowered. The
carbon content is usually below 1.4 % and 13 % manganese due to
the difficulty of obtaining an austenitic structure sufficiently free of
grain boundary carbides, which are detrimental to strength and
Heat treatment strengthens austenitic manganese steel so that it can
be used safely and reliably in a wide variety of engineering
applications. Solution annealing and quenching, the standard
treatment that produces normal tensile properties and the desired
toughness, involves austenitizing followed quickly by water
quenching. Variations of this treatment can be used to enhance
specific desired properties such as yield strength and abrasion
Usually, a fully austenitic structure, essentially free of carbides and
reasonably homogeneous with respect to carbon and manganese, is
desired in the as-quenched condition, although this is not always

attainable in heavy sections or in steels containing carbide-forming

elements such as chromium, molybdenum, vanadium and titanium. If
carbides exist in the as-quenched structure, it is desirable for them to
be present as relatively innocuous particles or nodules within the
austenite grains rather than as continuous envelopes at grain
AMS can offer the best combination of toughness and resistance to
high stress and gouging abrasion. As per the Mn steel equilibrium
diagram any C composition greater than 1.2 % encourage formation
of acicular carbide which in turn lead to intergranular embrittlement
in steel. The high carbon content in Mn steels, if completely retained
in solution, provide best resistance to abrasion wear.
To achieve the desired mechanical properties, the manganese steels
have to be heat treated above the Acm-line of the phase diagram, a
procedure referred to as austenitizing or solution annealing, followed
by water quenching. The austenitizing will dissolve carbides from the
eutectic formation at the end of solidification, and also contribute to
remove some micro segregation in the microstructure. The water
quenching should prevent new carbides to form during cooling from
the austenitizing temperature, although in larger components some
precipitation must be expected. Carbide-forming elements such as
chromium, molybdenum and vanadium will increase the chance of
undissolved carbides or precipitation of carbides during cooling of the
steel. Subsequent reheating is in general not recommended for
austenitic manganese steels. Reheating between 260 deg C and the
Acm-temperature can lead to precipitation of carbides giving
embrittlement. Low carbon contents and additions of molybdenum
and nickel can suppress embrittlement to some extent.
As the section size of manganese steel increases, tensile strength and
ductility decrease substantially in specimens cut from heat-treated
castings. This occurs because, except under specially controlled
conditions, heavy sections do not solidify in the mold fast enough to
prevent coarse grain size, a condition that is not altered by heat
Fine grain specimens may exhibit tensile strength and elongation as
much as 30 % greater than those of coarse grain specimens. Grain
size is also the main reason for the differences between cast and
wrought manganese steels; the latter are usually of fine grain size.
Mechanical properties vary with section size. Tensile strength, tensile
elongation, reduction in area and impact strength is substantially

lower in 100 mm thick sections than in 25 mm thick sections. Because

section thicknesses of production castings are often from 100 mm to
150 mm, this factor is an important consideration for proper grade
Austenitic manganese steel is apparently immune to hydrogen
embrittlement. There is gradual decrease in impact strength with
decreasing temperature. The transition temperature is not well
defined because there is no sharp inflection in the impact strengthtemperature curve down to temperatures as low as 85 deg C. At a
given temperature and section size, nickel and manganese additions
are usually beneficial for enhancing impact strength, while higher
carbon and chromium levels are not.
Resistance to crack propagation is high and is associated with very
sluggish progressive failures. Because of this, any fatigue cracks that
develop might be detected, and the affected part or parts removed
from service before complete failure occurs.
Yield strength and hardness vary only slightly with section size. The
hardness of most grades is about 200 HB after solution annealing and
quenching, but this value has little significance for estimating
machinability or wear resistance.
Effect of atomic elements on manganese steels
Carbon and manganese are the primary alloying elements. Typical
concentrations are 0.7 % 1.45 % carbon and 11 % -14 %
manganese. These two elements stabilize austenite and give solid
solution strengthening. Manganese also stabilizes austenite by
delaying the transformation/increasing the hardenability. A higher
austenitizing temperature is needed with higher contents of carbon
and manganese.
Si has little effect on the mechanical properties if kept under this
value. Amounts of 0.10 % increases fluidity during casting. Above 2.2
% silicon there is a sharp reduction in ductility and strength.
Chromium increases the initial hardness and the hardness after
deformation. Chromium modified manganese steels usually contain 24 % chromium.
Molybdenum in the amount of 0.5 % -2 % improves the toughness
and resistance to cracking before heat treatment. Molybdenum also
suppresses embrittlement during reheating. The improvement is
thought to be due to the formation of nodular carbides instead of

continuous bands around austenite dendrites. By heating a standard

grade manganese steel containing 2 % molybdenum for 8 to 12 hours
at 595 deg C and water quenching it from 980 deg C, a structure of
finely dispersed carbides in austenite should form, improving abrasion
Vanadium is strong carbide former. It increases yield strength with a
reduction in ductility. Additions of 0.5 % -2 % give precipitation
hardening when solution treated at 1120-1175 deg C and aged at
500-650 deg C.
Nickel increases ductility and stabilizes austenite.
Titanium can reduce carbon in austenite by forming very stable
carbides. The resulting properties may simulate those of lower-carbon
grade. Titanium may also somewhat neutralize the effect of excessive
phosphorus. Microalloying additions (< 0.1 %) of titanium, vanadium,
boron, zirconium and nitrogen have been reported to promote grain
refinement in manganese steels. The effect, however, is inconsistent.
Higher level of these elements can result in serious losses in ductility.
Nitrogen in amounts greater than 0.20 % can cause gas porosity in
castings. An overall reduction in grain size lowers the susceptibility of
the steel to hot tearing.
Sulfur content in manganese steels seldom influences its properties,
because the scavenging effect of manganese operates to eliminate
sulfur by fixing it in the form of innocuous, rounded, sulfide inclusions.
The elongation of these inclusions in wrought steels may contribute in
directional properties; in cast steels such inclusions are harmless.
However, it is best to keep sulfur as low as is practically possible to
minimize the number of inclusions in the microstructure that would be
potential sites for the nucleation of fatigue cracks in service