Well-defined heat treatment guidelines are required to achieve the target mechanical properties in high chromium steels for forgings. Anyway, for this class of materials the microstructure evolution during heat treatment is not clearly understood. Thus, it is particularly important to assess the steel microstructure evolution during heat treatment in order to promote the best microstructure. This will ascertain the safe use for long-term service. In this paper, different heat treatments are considered and their effect on a 7% Cr steel for forging is reported. Results show that, following to the high intrinsic steel hardenability, significative differences were not found versus cooling-step treatment, although prior austenite grain size were significantly different. Moreover, retained austenite (RA) content is lower in double tempered specimens after heat treatments at higher temperatures.
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