Effect of Heat Treatments and SiC Content in the Mechanical Properties and Microstructure of Self-Lubricating Steels

The objective of the present work was to study the effect of heat treatments in the microstructure, graphite nodules and mechanical properties of self-lubricating steels, to achieve this, self-lubricating steels (Fe + 0.45C + 4Ni + 1Mo %wt) and additions of 2 and 3 %wt SiC were fabricated. They were consequently heat treated in 3 different conditions: martempering at 180 °C and tempering at 530 °C and 300 °C respectively and austempering at 300 °C. Hardness, yield strength, tensile strength and work hardening behavior were studied in as-sintered and heat-treated samples. The microstructure was analyzed by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and micro-hardness. The transformation temperatures were determined using dilatometric tests. Results show that the presence of dissolved Si in the matrix due to SiC dissociation notably affects the morphology of the microstructure and transformation temperatures also affecting post heat treatment mechanical properties. The structure of graphite nodules produced by SiC dissociation is nott significantly affected by the heat treatments.