Decarburization of Steel R. Cornell and H. Bhadeshia A discussion of diffusion and its effects can be found in a set of lectures available online. Steel is incredibly versatile because it can be heat-treated in order to produce a vast range of microstructures and associated mechanical properties. The heat-treatment usually involves the steel being heated into a temperature in the austenite phase field. This temperature is quite high, in the range oC, depending on the details of the chemical composition.
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Download Now Definition - What does Decarburization mean? Decarburization is the change in content and structure of steel wherein some surface layers of steel and carbon are lost. In complete decarburization, the top layer of steel consists mainly of ferrite materials, while partial decarburization presents a combination of materials. Microscopy is one of the techniques to determine carbon loss. Adverse effects of decarburization include: Reduced ductility Formation of cracks Formation of a scaly surface texture Decarburization can be either dangerous or beneficial, depending on the way it is applied or how the metal is used.
In some cases, decarburization may be induced deliberately. In other circumstances, it can be due to corrosion or poor handling. When considered a defect, material testing can be useful to determine whether carbon loss levels are acceptable. If not, the steel or material will not be utilized for production. Carbon loss can result in unstable steel, which leads to reduced performance. This may also lead to various problems with machinery created from steel.
In other settings where decarburization is deliberately performed, testing can be performed to identify the level of decarburization. The rate of decarburization is controllable. If it is not intended, protective coatings are beneficial to prevent corrosion of the steel. Another measure is to have the steel heated in an inert environment which lacks oxygen.
Decarburization of Steel