skip to main content


Title: Effects of welding and post-weld heat treatments on nanoscale precipitation and mechanical properties of an ultra-high strength steel hardened by NiAl and Cu nanoparticles

The effects of welding and post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) on nanoscale co-precipitation, grain structure, and mechanical properties of an ultra-high strength steel were studied through a combination of atom probe tomography (APT) and mechanical tests. Our results indicate that the welding process dissolves all pre-existing nanoparticles and causes grain coarsening in the fusion zone, resulting in a soft and ductile weld without any cracks in the as-welded condition. A 550 °C PWHT induces fine-scale re-precipitation of NiAl and Cu co-precipitates with high number densities and ultra-fine sizes, leading to a large recovery of strength but a loss of ductility with intergranular failure, whereas a 600 °C PWHT gives rise to coarse-scale re-precipitation of nanoparticles together with the formation of a small amount of reverted austenite, resulting in a great recovery in both strength and ductility. Our analysis indicates that the degree of strength recovery is dependent mainly upon the re-precipitation microstructure of nanoparticles, together with grain size and reversion of austenite, while the ductility recovery is sensitive to the grain-boundary structure. In conclusion, APT reveals that the grain-boundary segregation of Mn and P may be the main reason for the 550 °C embrittlement, and the enhanced ductility at 600 °Cmore » is ascribed to a possible reduction of the segregation and reversion of austenite.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. City Univ. of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (China)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Acta Materialia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 120; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1359-6454
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; welding; ultra-high strength steel; precipitation; mechanical property; structure-property relationship
OSTI Identifier: