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INFOTEH-JAHORINA Vol. 12, March 2013.

Difference between mechanical properties of 51CrV4
high strength spring steel modeled by hardenability
software and obtained properties by heat treatment

Sanja Šolić Bojan Senčič
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Štore Steel d.o.o.,
Architecture Železarska cesta 3, SI-3220 Štore, Slovenia
I. Lučića 1, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
sanja.solic@fsb.hr

Vojteh Leskovšek
Institute of metals and technology,
Lepi pot 11, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Abstract - The durability of the springs is limited by plastic Mechanical properties of the spring steel (i.e. tensile
deformation, fatigue and fracturing. From this point of view, the strength Rm, yield strength Rp0.2, elongation A5 and necking Z)
spring steel should have following properties: high ductility and depend, for a specific austenizing temperature, on tempering
toughness at operation temperatures from -40°C to + 50°C, good temperature in the range 350 °C to 700 °C. Also, of great
hardenability that provides required mechanical properties even importance for this steels is the information on impact
at maximum dimensions. The information of the influence of toughness, Charpy-V, and more and more users also request
heat treatment parameters on tensile strength Rm, yield strength measured values of fracture toughness KIc for the springs after
Rp0.2, fracture toughness KIc, impact toughness, Charpy-V as a heat treatment, which for a known ultimate tensile strength
function of tempering temperature for a specific austenitising
allows calculation of the fracture stress σf and the critical
temperature is therefore very important for spring steel
manufacturers. This paper presents the difference between the
defect size acr at the applied stress.
properties given by the mathematical modelling of heat treatment II. EXPERIMENTAL
using the computer software Hardenability and the properties
obtained by testing the heat treated samples. Samples from continuous cast, high strength, spring steel
grade 51CrV4, delivered as hot rolled and soft annealed bars of
Keywords - spring steels, heat treatment, Hardenability dimensions 100mm x 25mm x 6000mm were used in this
software, mechanical properties study. The chemical composition of the steel is shown in table
1. The specimens for the standard tensile test, Charpy V notch
I. INTRODUCTION impact test and KIc-test specimens in form of circumferentially
Spring steel manufacturers must provide to their customers notched and fatigue-pre-cracked tensile-test specimens in the
with technical documentation for given steel because the steels rolling direction with the fatigue crack at the notch root in the
with the same chemical composition can have different transverse direction were cut from soft annealed bar. Also cut
mechanical properties due to different metallurgical production were the specimens for hardness measurement and
(due to casting, cold or hot forming, heat treatment etc.) which microstructure characterization. The aim of the investigation
differs from one manufacturer to another. Among technological was to obtain the tempering diagrams for combinations of
properties of spring steels the information concerning the heat properties i.e. fracture toughness – hardness – tempering
treatment is very important. For chemical composition and temperature, impact toughness – hardness – tempering
initial microstructure in the normalized state (ferrite + pearlite) temperature, tensile strength – hardness – tempering
which are specified for steel grade 51CrMoV4, mechanical temperature.
properties for specific application depend mainly on
appropriately selected parameters for heat treatment. Usually,
hypo-eutectoid steels, such as spring steel 51CrMoV4, are heat
treated conventionally in a furnace with or without protective
atmosphere at the austenizing temperature (30 to 50°C above
the Ac3 point) to obtain “homogeneous austenite", and oil
cooled to the temperature of the quench oil, followed by a
single tempering at the selected temperature.

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Duuring the testss the tensiile-load/displaacement relaationship unntil failure was recorded.93 0.012 0.015 00. TTT F the linearr elastic behaviour up to fracture of such For diag grams with cooling c curvees for coolinng in nitrogeen at speccimens [4] the following equuation is applied: presssure of 5 barr. for determination d n of fracturee toughness (KIc- speccimen) as welll as two metallographic sam mples Φ 19 x 9 mm weree heat treated. Measuremeent with an instrumented Charpy ham mmer ws the estimaation of the total impact energy.8 0 is fulfilled. I Impact toughnness The imppact toughnesss was measureed by Charrpy impact teest known alsoo as Charpy V-notch test (ISO 148)). Afterr first preheat (650 °C) the specimenns were heateed at the ratee of 10°C/miin to austeenitising tempperature of 8700 °C.005 0.013 H Hardness nd fracture toughness For the fraacture an The T Charpy-V V toughness C CVN-specimeens were temppered tougghness measuurement the circumferentially notched and betw ween 200 °C too 625 °C. 2 an nd 3 shows TTT P ⎛ D⎞ diag gram with thhe selected cooling curv ve. % and Neckking Z. TABLE I. On indivvidual groups of KIc-test specimens the Rockw well-C IIII.27 + 1. . gas quennched to 80 °C. Elongation E A5 . Equaation (1) is valid as long as the condition 0.04 4 0. m Figgures 1.2. first.72 7 ⎟ temp perature diaggram and tem mpering diagrram for the steel D ⎝ d⎠ (1) 51CCrV4 with cheemical composition presentted at table 1 from the selected s austennitising tempeerature of 870 °C.0 mm/miin was used for f standard teensile testss on specimenns with nominaal test length of 100 mm.01 0.505 - . thhe modelling of TTT diaggrams and tempering diagrams d weere done usiing Hardenabbility softw ware. ensuringg the axiallity of the teensile load.33 0. allow e the ennergy needded for crack initiation andd the energy necessary n for crack c proppagation. CHEM ED 51CRV4 STEE MICAL COMPOSITION OF THE TESTE EL (ŠTORE-STEEL) Steel grrade %C %Si % %Mn %P %S %Cr %MMo %V % %Ni %Ti %%Sn %Ca %N 51CrV44 0. fatiggue-pre-crackeed tensile-tesst specimens were used. transform mation K Ic = 3/ 2 ⎜ − 1. RESULTSS AND DISCUSSSION harddness (HRc) wasw measuredd using a Willson 4JR harddness For F the presennted chemicall composition of 51CrV4 spring s machhine. andd the validdity of equatioon (1) for the tests t was confi firmed. MPa. %. soaked for f 10 minutess. T The test speccimens were heat treatedd in a horizzontal vacuuum furnace with uniform m high-pressuure gas-quencching usingg nitrogen (N2) at pressure of 5 bar. and d iss the notcheed-section diaameter of thhe test speciimen. At each in Hardenabbility software temppering temperrature 16 test specimens foor tensile test (Rm- speccimen). and then single s tempereed for one hoour at Fig2: F Transformaation temperature for spring steel grade 51CrV4 moodelled diffeerent temperattures betweenn 300 °C andd 700 °C. D is the outtside diameterr. w where P is thee load at failure. Yield Y stresss Rp0. softtware T Tensile test Thhe standard teensile test (SIST EN ISO 6892- 6 1) was w applied too measure Teensile strengthh Rm. The cross-head speed of 1. [5] Measurements M of fracture toughness were formed using an Instron 1255 perfo 1 tensile-ttest machine. transformatiion temperatu ures and temppering diag grams were modelled.16 0.0004 0.93 0. H Heat treatmennt of samplees For the selected austennizing tempperature of 8770 °C. were w used.114 0. MPa. steell modelling using u Hardenaability softwaare was done.5 < d /D < 0. Inn the testss two speciallly prepared cardan fixed jaws. Figure F 1: TTT diaagram of spring ssteel grade 51CrVV4 with marked cooling Hardness HRcc was measureed on an Instrron B 2000 deevice H cu urve from austenittising temperaturee of 870 °C modeelled in Hardenabiility accoording to standdard SIST EN ISO 6508-1.52 0 0. In all cases this reelationship waas linear.

2.2 by 144 MPa.3 : Tempering diagram (hardness – tempering temperature) for spring steel grade 51CrV4 modelled in Hardenability software Fig 4. the specified Tempering diagram of mechanical properties Rm. Rm. For the tempering temperature of 650 °C measured mean value of tensile strength. A Rm value was given at a tempering temperature of 547 °C. Rp0. was 1402 MPa. for a Fig. shows classic tempering diagram of the average Tempering diagram hardness HRC – fracture toughness. MPa. for the tempering temperature of 500 °C is smaller by 219 MPa. yield strength. yield strength Rp0. As can be seen from the diagram. Fig. .2 (MPa). and yield strength Rp0. of existing crack under tensile stress.necking High strength spring steels are very notch sensitive.506 - . For each tempering temperature tensile tests were performed on a statistically relevant number of Rm-specimens so the results were subjected to statistical analysis. while it is higher only for necking. shows tempering diagram mechanical properties (tensile strength. austenitising temperature 870 °C. MPa. Tempering diagram Hardness HRc – Fracture toughness KIc – Tempering temperature for the selected austenitising temperature 870 °C and selected tempering temperature in the range of 200 °C to 625 °C for the steel grade 51CrV4 is shown in Figure 6. which can be between 300 – 700 °C for an austenitising temperature of 870 described as the ability of the material to resist the propagation °C. Rm. . 5: Classic tempering diagram for continuous cast hot rolled flat spring elongation A. so it is Z (%)) as a function of tempering temperature in range very important to measure fracture toughness KIc.tempering temperature steel 51CrV4. elongation A5 (%) . Rm. and Rp0. KIC measured values of mechanical properties (tensile strength Rm – tempering temperature (MPa). %) . Rm. The measured contraction Is higher by 16 % and necking by 11. % and necking.2 % comparing to values given by Hardenability model. Fig. Rp0. modelled using Hardenability software for vacuum heat treatment of the specified spring steel. and Z as a function of tempering temperature Figure 5. 4: Tempering diagram for spring steel 51CrV4 modelled in tempering temperature of 500 °C. In comparison with modelled tempering diagram the mean value of tensile strength. the minimum variation of results is within ± 2σ in the whole range of selected tempering temperatures for tensile strength and elongation. the measured value of tensile Hardenability software strength.2 is higher by 112 MPa.2. is higher by 28 MPa. and in the model. Comparing the results with the modelled values. Z.

Figure 6: Effect of tempering temperature on the hardness HRc and fracture Figure 7: Effect of tempering temperature on hardness HRc and impact toughness KIc of spring steel 51CrV4. which were On the basis of the experimental investigation conducted it quenched and tempered at 200 °C. CONCLUSION It can be seen that the minimum variation of results within ± 2s is in the quenched state and in KIc-specimens. In the range between 58. necessary for crack propagation.6]. H. Ebner. [4] R. Nzotta: „High performance matrix tool steels is increased for tempering temperature above 500 °C. Achieved hardness after quenching was heterogeneity of the investigated steel. Sandberg. The tempering diagram According to tempering diagrams Tensile strength Rm- obtained for selected tempering temperatures in the range of Yield stress Rp0. M. Leoben. temperature The results of this innovative approach of investigation have For obtaining this diagram the impact toughness was shown that using the proposed method it was possible to draw.Tempering temperature we can conclude The diagram shows that the curves of hardness and impact that the investigated spring steel 51CrV4 is suitable for toughness Charpy-V over the entire range of tempering production of high strength springs when proper heat treatment temperature are similar to the curves of hardness and fracture is performed. Materials and Technology. IV. In the produced via a clean steel concept“. Leitner.4 ± 0. In the diagram. combined notch test (ISO 148). 45 (2011). F. toughness Charpy-V of continuous cast hot rolled flat spring steel 51CrV4. Proceesing of the 5th International Conference on Tooling. from which one could conclude that we are in the area of The investigation also showed that standardized fracture- irreversible temper brittleness which should be further toughness testing (ASTM E399-90).tempering and fatigue-pre-cracked tensile specimens (KIc-test specimen).8 HRC which is enough for this steel to obtain the 500 °C and 575 °C there was no increase in fracture toughness required hardness of 30-50 HRC after single tempering. could be replaced with a investigated [6]. 1999. for the normally used range of working hardness.Charpy-V . Torino. D. non-standard testing method using circumferentially notched Tempering diagram Hardness HRc . Caliskanoglu: „Methods of Property Oriented Tool Steel Design“.2-Elongation A5(%)-Necking Z(%)-Tempering 200 °C to 625 °C for high strength steel 51CrV4 is shown in temperature and tempering diagram Hardness HRc – Impact Figure 7. which confirms the observations [2] P. Hansson: „New Multi-purposte pre-hardened tool steels“.507 - . 1999. This can be attributed to the kinetics of with uniform high-pressure gas-quenching using nitrogen (N2) precipitation during tempering which affected the at a pressure of 5 bar. for fracture toughness the impact toughness also investigated steel were for approx. measured by Charpy impact test known also as Charpy V. 2-6 May 2006 [3] H. 67-73 . 2- tempering temperature range of 525 °C . 7th made in measuring the fracture toughness. toughness KIc in the tempering diagram shown in Figure 7. Torino. when the Tooling Conference. toughness Charpy-V . precipitation during tempering. steel 51CrV4“. Proceesing of the 5th assumption that this is the area of irreversible temper International Conference on Tooling. the energy needed for crack initiation and the energy treated high strength spring steel grade 51CrV4.575 °C results show 6 May 2006 that toughness is reduced. Although some values of mechanical properties of Similarly. At higher tempering can be concluded that the high-strength spring steel 51CrV4 temperatures between 300 °C and 525 °C. This trend can be attributed to the kinetics of heat treatment parameters. In the range from 500 °C modelled in Hardenability software it can be concluded that to 550 °C the impact toughness is approximately equal. Measurement with an instrumented tempering diagrams (Rockwell-C hardness – Fracture Charpy hammer allows the estimation of the total impact toughness KIc – Tempering temperature) for vacuum-heat- energy. the results scattering can successfully be heat-treated in a horizontal vacuum furnace is slightly higher. embrittlement was made [5. 10 – 15 % higher when increases to a temperature of 525 °C. Leoben. the variation of results within ± 2s in the quenched and tempered condition by REFERENCES a temperature of 475 °C is of the same magnitude. after that it [1] A. Jesperson: „Touhgness of Tool Steels“. 7th Tooling Conference. then it Hardenability software is very good tool for assessment of increases again. Jeglitch.

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