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Automotive & Aerospace
Identify Phases in High Strength Lightweight Steel Using EBSD

Advanced steel with high strength and good ductility are increasingly required for automotive components. They maximize safety by improving crashworthiness while reducing weight to improve fuel economy. Understanding microstrucutre is fundamental job to producing steels with specific mechanical properties for these applications.

Phase fraction and phase distribution affect steel mechanical properties and corrosion resistance.  For example, retained austenite plays an important role in determing the strength, toughness and hardness of steel. It can transform into ferrite when impacted – improving the strength of the steel. Therfore we need differentiate these two phases and balance their propotions. But they have the same composition.

 How can we determine their effect on performance? EBSD is an ideal technique to identify phase, measure the phase fraction and visualize the phase distribution.

In this example an accurate measure of the austenite fraction and distribution was required to optimise the processing conditions of the steel to obtain the desired mechnical properties.

Here on the right, phase map of the steel visualizes the two phase structure, austenite forming layers through the ferrite. Phase fraction is calculated in real time. Being able to visualize the distribution of the phases are also essential as it impacts on how the phase transforms. EBSD measures phase population and visualizes the phase distribution, offering a benefit over some techniques (e.g. XRD) which only provide phase fraction.

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