Cast Hadfield steel is characterised by high abrasion resistance, provided, however, that it is exposed to the effect of dynamic loads. During abrasion without loading, e.g. under the impact of loose sand jet, its wear resistance drops very drastically. To increase the abrasion resistance of this alloy under the conditions where no pressure is acting, primary vanadium carbides are formed in the metallurgical process, to obtain a composite structure after the melt solidification. The primary, very hard, carbides uniformly distributed in the austenitic matrix are reported to double the wear resistance of samples subjected to the effect of a silicon carbide-water mixture.
Cast high-manganese Hadfield steel is commonly used for machine components operating under dynamic load conditions. Their high fracture toughness and abrasive wear resistance is the result of an austenitic structure, which - while being ductile - at the same time tends to surface harden under the effect of cold work. Absence of dynamic loads (e.g. in the case of sand abrasion) causes rapid and premature wear of parts. In order to improve the abrasive wear resistance of cast high-manganese steel for operation under the conditions free from dynamic loads, primary titanium carbides are produced in this cast steel during melting process to obtain in castings, after melt solidification, the microstructure consisting of an austenitic matrix and primary carbides uniformly distributed therein. After heat treatment, the microhardness of the austenitic matrix of such cast steel is up to 580 μHV20 and the resulting carbides may reach even 4000 μHV20. The impact strength of this cast steel varies from 57 to 129 and it decreases with titanium content. Compared to common cast Hadfield steel, the abrasive wear resistance determined in Miller test is at least twice as high for the 0.4% Ti alloy and continues growing with titanium content.
Widely used in the power and mining industry, cast Hadfield steel is resistant to wear, but only when operating under impact loads. Components made from this alloy exposed to the effect of abrasion under load-free conditions are known to suffer rapid and premature wear. To increase the abrasion resistance of cast high-manganese steel under the conditions where no dynamic loads are operating, primary titanium carbides are formed in the process of cast steel melting, to obtain in the alloy after solidification and heat treatment, the microstructure composed of very hard primary carbides uniformly distributed in the austenitic matrix of a hardness superior to the hardness of common cast Hadfield steel. Hard titanium carbides ultimately improve the wear resistance of components operating under shear conditions. The measured microhardness of the as-cast matrix in samples tested was observed to increase with the increasing content of titanium and was 380 HV0.02 for the content of 0.4%, 410 HV0.02 for the content of 1.5% and 510 HV0.02 for the content of 2 and 2.5%. After solution heat treatment, the microhardness of the matrix was 460÷480 HV0.02 for melts T2, T3 and T6, and 580 HV0.02 for melt T4, and was higher than the values obtained in common cast Hadfield steel (370 HV0.02 in as-cast state and 340÷370 HV0.02 after solution heat treatment). The measured microhardness of alloyed cementite was 1030÷1270 HV0.02; the microhardness of carbides reached even 2650÷4000 HV0.02.
The results of the modification of austenitic matrix in cast high-manganese steel containing 11÷19% Mn with additions of Cr, Ni and Ti were discussed. The introduction of carbide-forming alloying elements to this cast steel leads to the formation in matrix of stable complex carbide phases, which effectively increase the abrasive wear resistance in a mixture of SiC and water. The starting material used in tests was a cast Hadfield steel containing 11% Mn and 1.34% C. The results presented in the article show significant improvement in abrasive wear resistance and hardness owing to the structure modification with additions of Cr and Ti.