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TECH SPOTLIGHT

Color etching and electrolytic etching can help metallographically evaluate delta ferrite content.

100 m

metallographically evaluate delta ferrite content. 100 m Fig. 2 — Mill Clad 3 (MC3) is a

Fig. 2 — Mill Clad 3 (MC3) is a weld cladding for rebuilding caster rolls, hot strip mill rolls, and other types of steel mill rolls. When the as-welded steel is etched with the color etch, the delta ferrite as well as the general microstructure of the weld is revealed

Etching Stainless Steels for Delta Ferrite

Dennis W. Hetzner*

Timken Co.

Canton, Ohio

A methodology for calculating the approximate ferrite content in

austenitic stainless steel welds was first described by Schaeffler in 1949. Subsequently, the original di- agram was revised by DeLong, and later revised by the Welding Research Council several times (Fig. 1). Based on the composition of the stainless steels being welded, a nickel and chromium equivalent of the weld metal is calculated using Equa- tions 1 and 2.

Cr eq. = %Cr + 1.5 x %Si + %Mo + 0.5% x (%Ta + %NB) + 2 x %Ti +

%(W + V + Al)

(Eq. 1)

Ni eq. + %Ni + 30 x %Co + 0.5 x %Mn + 0.5 x %Co (Eq. 2)

Because the actual amount of fer- rite in stainless steels depends on non-equilibrium solidification pro- cessing as well as composition, sev- eral different techniques would be

*Fellow of ASM International

suitable to actually measure the fer- rite content of the weld metal. This tech note will describe how color etching and electrolytic etching can metallographically evaluate the delta ferrite content of two martensitic stainless steels as shown in the table. The color etch in these examples was a modified potassium metabisul- fite etch composed of 1% HCl, 1g K 2 S 2 O 5 , and 1g NH 4 HFH in 100 ml of distilled water. Approximately 15 seconds was required to etch the specimens. The electrolytic etch was ASTM E407 number 220. This etch is com- posed of 20g of NaOH in 100 ml of distilled water. The specimens were etched at 6 volts for approximately 30 seconds.

Weld cladding Mill Clad 3 (MC3) is a weld cladding for rebuilding caster rolls, hot strip mill rolls, and other types of steel mill rolls. When the as welded

0%

30 10% Austenite 20% 20 40% A+M 80% 10 Martensite M+F Ferrite 10 20 30
30
10%
Austenite
20%
20
40%
A+M
80%
10
Martensite
M+F
Ferrite
10
20
30
40
Nickel equivalent, %

Chromium

equivalent, %

Fig. 1 — Modified Schaeffler diagram for the delta ferrite content in austenitic stain- less steel welds.

Martensitic stainless steel compositions

Element

C

Si

Mn

Cr

Mo

Ni

V

Co

Cb (Nb)

MC3 Weld

0.12

0.40

1.1

12.7

1.4

2.8

0.2

0.2

Wrought P675

0.07

0.40

0.65

13.0

1.8

2.6

0.6

5.4

ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/FEBRUARY 2007

33

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50 m
50 m

Fig. 3 — Electrolytic NaOH. When the specimen is etched with the electrolytic etch, only the delta ferrite is attacked.

50 m
50 m

Fig. 4 — Alloy P675 is carburizable bearing steel manufactured by Carpenter Technology. For a specimen given a heat treating cycle similar to that for hardening carburized components, the color etch clearly reveals the delta ferrite as white stringers in the longitudinal microstructure.

50 m
50 m

Fig. 5 — Electrolytic NaOH. After elec- trolytic etching, the delta ferrite is once again clearly revealed. However, the contrast be- tween the delta ferrite and the unetched ma- trix is not as high as that for the color etch.

steel is etched with the color etch, the delta ferrite as well as the general mi- crostructure of the weld is revealed, Fig. 2. However, when the specimen is etched with the electrolytic etch, only the delta ferrite is attacked, Fig.

3. For this field of view, the delta fer-

rite content of this weld appears to be in the range of 10% to 15%. Equations 1 and 2 show that the chromium and nickel equivalents for this alloy are 15.0% and 6.95% respec- tively. Reference to the modified Schaeffler diagram indicates that this compositional point is in the M + F phase field, and the exact amount of each phase is difficult to predict.

Bearing steel

Alloy P675 is carburizable bearing steel manufactured by Carpenter Technology. For a specimen given a heat treating cycle similar to that for hardening carburized components, the color etch clearly reveals the delta ferrite as white stringers in the lon- gitudinal microstructure, Fig. 4. Mi- crostructural banding is clearly re- vealed by the color etch as long dark streaks in the microstructure. After electrolytic etching, the delta ferrite is once again clearly revealed. How- ever, the contrast between the delta ferrite and the unetched matrix is not as high as that for the color etch, as shown in Fig. 5. Multiple fields of view for this specimen indicate that the amount of delta ferrite is less than 1%. For this alloy, the chromium and nickel equivalents are found to be 16.0% and 7.7% respectively. Once again this composition in contained within the M + F phase field, Fig. 1. Several interesting observations can be made from these results. For both alloys, electrolytic sodium hy- droxide clearly reveals only the delta ferrite. The same would be true for revealing delta ferrite in austenitic stainless steel welds. The color etch clearly revealed the delta ferrite in the wrought stainless steel. How- ever, for the weld metal, the color etch revealed several different mi- crostructural features. Thus, the delta ferrite was difficult to measure. Although there was not a great

deal of difference in the chromium and nickel equivalents for the alloys, the processing greatly affected the amount of delta ferrite in the steels. All these facts are revealed by careful metallography.

All these facts are revealed by careful metallography. For more information: Dr. Dennis Hetzner is a

For more information: Dr. Dennis Hetzner is a senior materials specialist at the Timken Co., Canton, OH 44706; tel:

330/471-2150; dennis.hetzner@timken.com.

ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/FEBRUARY 2007