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DC.MT 307.

15 Heat Treatment

Formation of Austenite
Formation of Austenite
• To obtain homogeneous austenite at appropriate temperature
in the austenite stability range.

• First step in most heat treatment processes

• Variables for austenization:

– Time
– Prior austenite grain size

• Austenite grain size depends on temperature and time and

composition of steel.
Kinetics of Austenite Formation

• Microstructure consists of ferrite-carbide mixture: ferrite-pearlite,

pearlite, cementite-pearlite, carbides
• Above Ae1, pearlite first transform to austenite, followed by remaining
ferrite transformation. Alloy carbides dissolves in the last.
Kinetics of Austenite Formation
• Transformation of Hypo-eutectoid plain carbon steel between
temperature Ae3 and 1185 K (912 C).
• Ferrite is more stable than austenite.
• Pearlite in metastable with respect to austenite : first transformation
Kinetics of Austenite Formation

• Both the constituent phases of pearlite are individually metastable wrt

• Hence, nucleation occurs at interface.
• Factors are : Volume Gibbs free energy, formation of interfaces and strain
Kinetics of Austenite Formation
• Austenite growth rate is essentially
determined by carbon diffusion
through austenite.
• Carbon difference between point a
and b (both the interfaces) is the
motivation and proportional to
superheating (T-Ae1)
• Rate is inversely proportional to
carbon concentration difference
across the interface.
• Hence ferrite is consumed first.
• Homogenization of carbon will take
place after dissolution of pearlite.
• Shorter times are required for the
Homogenization in the pearlite
Kinetics of Austenite Formation
• Homogenization is function
of inter-lamellar spacing,
• Austenite growth in ferrite
is also controlled by carbon
diffusion in austenite
• Driving force is carbon
difference between C(Pe)-
• Complete dissolution can
place when C0 -
Kinetics of Austenite Formation
• Transformation of plain carbon steel above 912 C
– Ferrite transforms first and rapidly
– Cementite in pearlite transforms next
– Homogenization first in pearlite than in ferrite

• Hyper-Eutectoid Steel
– Pearlite first to austenite
– Pro-eutectoid cementite

• Effect of Alloying element

– Carbide former element
Kinetics of Austenite Formation
Kinetics of Austenite Formation
Austenite Grain Size
Austenite Grain Size
Austenite Grain Size