Influence of heat treatments on the microstructure and degree of sensitization of base metal and weld of AISI 430 stainless steel

<div><p>ABSTRACT AISI 430 is a non-stabilized ferritic stainless steel grade with carbon content lower than 0.12%.After hot and cold rolling this material is annealed. The slow cooling after soaking at temperatures between 900oC and 1000oC promotes the formation of a high quantity of carbides and nitrides, while the rapid cooling partially suppresses the formation of these precipitates, but introduces martensite in the microstructure. Intergranular martensite can also be produced in the weld metal and in the heat affected zone (HAZ) of welds of non-stabilized ferritic stainless steels. In this work, several heat treatments between 900oC and 1000oC, with different cooling rates, were performed in a commercial sheet of AISI 430 grade. Also, an autogenous welding was produced with GTAW process, and post weld heat treatment at 700°C was carried out. The different microstructures produced were analyzed by optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The degree of sensitization was measured by double loop electrochemical potentiodynamic tests (DL-EPR). The pitting corrosion resistance was evaluated by cyclic polarization tests in 3.5%NaCl solution. Hardness and toughness tests were also performed in selected heat treatment conditions. The results indicate that the slow cooling results in a higher degree of sensitization than observed in the material rapid cooled from the annealing temperature. The ferritic martensitic structure produced by water cooling has higher pitting potential and lower degree of sensitization, but is brittle at room temperature. A subsequent tempering treatment between 600 and 800oC can increase the toughness, but the corrosion resistance may decrease due to carbides precipitation.The heat affected zone of AISI 430 welds contains intergranular martensite, which is brittle and susceptible to corrosion attack. Post weld heat treatment at 700oC decomposed the martensite into ferrite and carbides and improved the corrosion resistance.</p></div>