Due to the limitations of manufacturing techniques, inhomogeneous microstructures and properties along the thickness direction have been a big challenge for heavy and ultra-heavy plates of quenched and tempered low-alloyed steel. In this study, variation in microstructures and mechanical properties were investigated from the surface to the center of a 130 mm-thick ultra-heavy steel plate. Emphasis was made on toughness performance including impact toughness and crack resisting ability. It was found that the ultimate tensile strength at the plate surface, quarter and center thickness at room temperature are 715, 643 and 618 MPa, respectively. Meanwhile, the ductile-brittle transition temperature defined by fracture appearance for these three plate positions are −100, −30 and −15°C, respectively. Moreover, the crack resisting ability represented by the nil-ductility temperature are −40, −25 and −10°C for these three positions respectively. Investigation by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) revealed that the plate surface features finer matrix grain and carbide precipitation, as well as greater frequency of high angle misorientation. These microstructural features contribute to enhancing deformability, retarding cleavage initiation and hindering crack propagation, leading to the pronounced increase in the energy for fracture propagation and the overall impact energy as compared to the other two plate positions.
Liu, H., Zhang, H., & Li, J. (2018). Thickness dependence of toughness in ultra-heavy low-alloyed steel plate after quenching and tempering. Metals, 8(8). https://doi.org/10.3390/met8080628