A high strength steel with Nb-V-Ti addition was heat treated by a series of isothermal bainite holding (IBH) processes and quenching and partitioning (Q&P) processes with different intercritical annealing temperatures. The microstructure observation showed that some martensite was formed during quenching in IBH condition with annealing temperature above 850 °C, mainly ascribed to heterogeneous carbon content distribution in parent austenite with relatively large size. Meanwhile, film-like RA in martensite, relatively coarser lath-like RA in bainite and blocky RA located in grain boundaries or phase boundaries were observed in both IBH and Q&P treatments. Moreover, Q&P process was proved to be more beneficial to retain austenite than IBH process, while the ability of austenite retention was similar in IBH conditions. An excellent combination of strength and ductility was obtained in Q&P process annealed at 880 °C with tensile strength of 1126 MPa and total elongation of ~ 18%, attributing to TRIP effect mainly occurred in the latter part of strain and fine microstructure with homogeneous distribution.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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