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Andrew Braum Mechanical Engineering Department Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, California 90045

April 10, 2008


The purpose of this lab was to identify the correlation between carbon content and alloying elements on the hardenability of steel and steel alloys. Three steels, 1040, 1090, and 4340, were subjected to a Jominy End Quench Test. Hardness values along the length of the bars were recorded in Rockwell C scale for comparison to literature. Results can be used by designers during the materials selection process depending on the application and resources available. Key results included the 4340 exhibiting relatively consistent hardness values along the bar length at about 50-54, whereas the 1040 and 1090s hardness values dropped off to 16 and 35 respectively. Initially the 1090 steel had the highest hardness values due to higher carbon content (0.5% weight more carbon) in the steel. Alloying elements were identified as the key factor in steel hardenability. Recommendations included performing additional Jominy End Quench Experiments on other steel alloys to confirm the best combinations of alloying elements as they correlate to hardenability.

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Section Introduction Theory and Analysis Experimental Procedure Results and Discussion Conclusion and Recommendations References Appendices Appendix A: Raw Data

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The purpose of this lab is to identify the correlations of carbon content and alloying elements on hardenability of 1040, 1090, and 4340 steels. The hardenability is measured by the amount of martensite formed throughout a Jominy bar sample. Rockwell C hardness values will be

recorded by a Wilson/Rockwell Hardness Testing Machine in 1 16 inch increments along the length of the bar and plotted as a function of the distance from the end that was quenched by water. Researched literature suggests that although increased carbon content allows for higher hardness values near the quenched end, alloying elements will vastly affect the uniformity of hardness, or hardenability, along the length of the samples. Identification of key factors

affecting hardenability, and more specifically which steels are more hardenable than others, helps designers to select appropriate materials based on application and resources available. Hardenable steel alloys like 4340 are expensive and thus should be used in critical applications such as aircraft landing gear.


There are many ways to strengthening steel. The key element that makes steel a steel is the addition of carbon. Carbon, or in the form of Cementite (Fe3C ) , exponentially improves the strength of steel. The following Figure 1 shows the relationship between the hardness (Rockwell C scale) and the carbon content of the steel tested.

Figure 1. Rockwell C hardness as a function of the weight percent carbon added in a steel (Askeland & Phule, 2006).

As shown above, hardness is used as in indicator of strength. Hardenability is another term used to describe the hardness in respect to the depth below the steels surface (McGannon, 1971). Favorable hardenability means that the steel or alloy has consistent hardness properties throughout the thickness of the specimen. This is important because certain alloys exhibit better hardenability characteristics, and thus prove to be essential in critical applications. Other

strengthening techniques for steel are solution hardening, grain size effect hardening, dispersedphase hardening, or work hardening (Thelning, 1984).

Addition of alloying elements inherently increases steels resilience to hardenability loss (Thelning, 1984). This means that adding alloying elements increases steels hardenability and thus improves its strength. The exact parameters behind this effect are attributed to many factors as stated by Thelning (1984).

In addition to equilibrium reactions, there are non-equilibrium reactions such as age hardening and the Martensite reaction. The Martensite reaction, specifically, is not shown on the phase diagram and is a result of diffusionless solid-state transformation (Askeland & Phule, 2006). For steels containing less than 2% carbon, austenite (FCC) transforms into martensite (BCC). For steels with higher carbon content, the martensite is not BCC, but rather a body centered tetragonal (BCT) crystalline structure. The following picture (Figure 2) illustrates the crystalline structure of a body centered tetragonal structure. The graph to the right shows how the addition of carbon changes the length of the c-axis and a-axis (Askeland & Phule, 2006).

Figure 2. (a) Body centered tetragonal (BCT) crystalline structure and (b) a graph of the a-axis and c-axis as a function of weight percent carbon in the martensite (Askeland & Phule, 2006).

As mentioned before, martensite formation is a diffusionless solid-state transformation which means that the reaction does not follow normal diffusion rules specified by Avramis equations. However, the presence of martensite is important because it has very favorable strength. The BCT crystalline structure has no close-packed slip planes where dislocations lines can move, thus giving martensite its inherent strength. Specifically during martensite formation, austenite rapidly transforms to ferrite but the carbon remains in solid solution in the iron . Since there is less space in the ferrite structure than the austenite structure, the ferrite structure is expanded into its new crystalline structure; a body centered tetragonal (BCT) martensite supersaturated with carbon (Thelning, 1984). As mentioned, the lattice is expanded and thus there is a notable volume change during the formation of martensite from austenite. Due to very little migration, or diffusion, of the carbon atoms the reaction is classified as non-equilibrium (Thelning, 1984).

There are two different structures of martensites, lath and plate martensite, which form depending on the carbon content of the steel. Low carbon content (< 0.6% ) is conducive to lath martensite which consists of flat, narrow bundles tightly knit next to each other. Higher carbon content (> 0.6% ) , on the other hand, is conducive to form plate martensite which, as its name suggests, consists of larger flat, narrow plates (Thelning, 1984). Figure 3 below shows a

magnification of the two martensite structures (Thelning, 1984). Figure 4 below Figure 3, shows the transition of lath martensite to plate martensite as the carbon content increases (Thelning, 1984).

Figure 3. Magnification of (a) lath martensite and (b) plate martensite (Thelning, 1984).

Figure 4. Diagram of late martensite to plate martensite as the carbon content of the steel increases (Thelning, 1984).

Martensite is the hardest and most brittle microstructure that forms in temperatures under 450 o C
(McGannon, 1971). Brittle characteristics are not desired in steel applications; however a

balanced composition of both martensite and austenite creates a balance of both strength and ductility. In order to obtain this delicate balance, extremely careful attention is paid to the undercooling rate to control the martensite growth. Martensite nuclei formation is highly

favored by supercooling due the increasing driving force during the temperature change (Thelning, 1984). Slow nucleation of martensite occurs at higher temperatures, whereas lower temperatures accelerate martensite nucleation. This goes to mention a critical cooling rate where initially the steel must be cooled fast enough through the higher temperature range, but cooled slowly at the lower temperature ranges to encourage martensite formation (Thelning, 1984). Also, by quickly bypassing the higher temperature ranges, the risk of undesired equilibrium transformations is avoided (McGannon, 1971). As indicated in Figure 5 below, holding steel at elevated temperatures can produce different crystalline structures. The following diagram is known as a time-temperature transformation (TTT) diagram (Askeland, 2006).

Figure 5. TTT diagram for different steels with (a) 0.8% carbon, (b) 0.45% carbon, and (c) 1.0% carbon content. A = austenite, B = bainite, C = cementite, F = ferrite, P = pearlite, M = martensite, and M s indicates the start of martensite formation (Thelning, 1984).

The TTT diagram clearly shows that at elevated temperatures, say for a 0.8% carbon steel held at 650 o C , will produce austenite and pearlite after 1 second, and form all pearlite after 10 seconds. Martensite is formed at much lower temperatures and thus requires an extremely fast cooling rate to bring the steels temperature down within the martensite formation range. To illustrate this

best, a different diagram is needed. A continuous cooling transformation diagram, or CCT diagram, shows the different microstructures formed as a function of the cooling rate. The following two charts (Figure 6) are CCT diagrams for 1080 steel, and 4340 steel (Askeland & Phule, 2006).


(b) Figure 6. CCT diagrams for (a) 1080 steel and (b) 4340 steel (Askeland & Phule, 2006).

The CCT diagrams show that for rapid cooling rates like 140 o C sec for 1080 steel and 8 o C sec for 4340 steel allow the formation of all martensite. Slower cooling rates like 40 o C sec for 1080 steel and 0.3o C sec for 4340 steel allow the formation of martensite plus pearlite and


martensite plus bainite, respectively. It should also be noted the significant difference of cooling rates between the nonresulphurized carbon steel (10XX series) and the 1.8% nickel, 0.5-0.8% chromium, 0.25% molybdenum (43XX series). The 10XX series tend to require a much faster cooling rate to achieve higher concentrations of martensite whereas the 43XX series can do so at much lower cooling rates. In respect to hardenability and considering current cooling techniques and limitations, the 43XX exhibits much more favorable hardenability properties than the 10XX series.

Since the formation of martensite is a function of cooling rates, naturally the outside will cool faster than the inside of a sample. Depending on how hardenable a material is, the depth of martensite will vary. This means that inner sections may not cool quick enough to form

martensite and will contain retained austenite. By leaving the retained austenite as is, the sample will exhibit ductile properties. However, for samples which are rapidly cooled and form a high percentage of martensite, brittle characteristics may be limiting for certain applications and thus additional treatments must be performed. Some of these techniques are known as tempering which can help relieve the internal stress and allow for ductility recovery. Tempering allows for the precipitation of carbide from the supersaturated martensite structure at elevated temperatures. Tempering is applied immediately after quenching (when martensite formation starts) to avoid cracks (due to non-uniform cooling rates between the surface and the center) and increase ductility (McGannon, 1971). Rapid cooling in a hot agitated salt bath followed by air cooling to a uniform temperature is called martempering (McGannon, 1971). Martempering allows for additional retained austenite to form and improve the steels ductility (Thelning, 1984). Figure 7 below shows the formation of cracks on the surface due to non-uniform cooling rates between


the surface and center (Askeland & Phule 2006). Figure 8 (under Figure 7) shows the graphical correlation between the surface and center temperature as a function of time, the compression and tension internal stresses accumulated on the surface and center, and the resulting net residual stress on the sample surface and center (Thelning, 1984).

Figure 7. Progressive diagram over time of the formation of cracks due to the non-uniform cooling rates of the surface compared to the center (Askeland & Phule, 2006).

Figure 8. Diagram of (top) center and surface temperature as a function of time, (bottom left) tension and compression stresses accumulated from the sample center to the sample surface, and (bottom right) the net residual stress from the sample center to the sample surface (Thelning, 1984).

A popular method for measuring hardenability is with the Jominy End Quench test. Jominy bars are typically 1 inch in diameter and 4 inches in length with a tapered head that rests in the cutout


of the Jominy Quench Tank (McGannon, 1971). The steel alloy is heated to its austenizing temperature and placed in a Jominy Quench Tank which constantly sprays water on the bottom of the sample. The water rapidly quenches one end of the sample whereas the other end is cooled in the air at a slower rate. The sample is cooled to around room temperature and hardness samples are taken along the bar in 1 16 inch intervals. Plots can be created showing the hardness as a function of the length along the bar. The genius behind this test is that the bar represents a cross-sectional analysis of hardness along the bar length. The more uniform the hardness along the length, the more hardenable the material is. For larger industry samples in which cross sectional hardness tests may be impossible (or impractical), Jominy allows designers to select the proper alloy steel which will give desired hardenability parameters. Figure 9 illustrates a simple Jominy bar being quenched and how the hardness correlates to the bar length (Askeland & Phule, 2006).

Figure 9. Diagram of a Jominy bar held in a Jominy Quench Tank with water jetted at the bottom and how harness correlates to the Jominy distance down the length of the bar (Askeland & Phule, 2006).


When different steels hardness values are superimposed on the same plot, the resulting diagram should resemble Figure 10 below (Askeland & Phule, 2006).

Figure 10. Superimposed chart of Rockwell C hardness for 4340 (top curve), 8640, 9310, 1080, 4320, and 1050 (bottom curve) at different Jominy distances (Askeland & Phule, 2006).

General trends include a drop in hardness for all steel alloys except for 4340. 4340 steel is known to have very favorable hardenability characteristics but at an expensive cost (Es-said, 2008).



Equipment used:

Carbolite Furnace (Figure 11) Jominy Tank (Figure 12) Buehler Abrasimet Abrasive Cutter (Figure 13) Grinding Machine (Figure 14) Rockwell/Wilson Series 500 Hardness Tester (Figure 15) Jominy bar-shaped sample for the following steel samples (Figure 16)

o 1040 Steel o 1090 Steel o 4340 Steel

A brief overview of the experimental setup was as follows. Each sample was heated in a Carbolite Furnace at 885 o C for 1 hour and 20 minutes. A sample was placed in the Jominy tank with the water turned on. After allowing the sample to cool down so steam was not visible when a water droplet was placed on top, the sample was cleaned of excess oxidized scales. A grinding machine was used to create a flat surface on the cylinder to allow for accurate hardness readings. Careful attention was paid to the grinding rate so not to heat the sample and cause recovery, recrystallization, or grain growth. Next, the end of the sample was sliced off with an abrasive cutter. Then 1 16 " marks were made up to 1" followed by 1 8" marks up to 2" . Every 1 8" mark
up to the 1" mark was made on the opposite side of the cylinder to avoid inaccurate hardness values from strain hardening due to the close proximity of the test points. Lastly, hardness


values were taken with a Wilson/Rockwell Series 500 Hardness Testing Machine.


differential depth from a minor load of 10kg followed by a 150 kg major load on a diamond indenter was recorded as Rockwell C. Entire procedure was repeated for the other two samples.

The following step-by-step procedure was used for Jominy end quenching:

Heated each sample at 885 o C for 1 hour and 20 minutes in Carbolite Furnace Placed in Jominy tank with water on

o Sample was ready to handle if no steam arose from a water drop

Grinded smooth surfaces for hardness test

o Grinded slow to avoid recovery, recrystallization, or grain growth

Used abrasive cutter to slice off end of sample Marked sample with 1 16 " marks up to 1" followed by 1 8" marks up to 2" Rockwell C Hardness values were recorded for each mark Procedure was repeated for each of the samples


Figure 11. Picture of Carbolite Furnace (Patel, 2008).

Figure 12. Picture of Jominy Quench Tank (Patel, 2008).


Figure 13. Buehler Abrasimet Abrasive Cutter (Patel, 2008)

Figure 14. Grinding Machine (Patel, 2008)


Figure 15. Rockwell/Wilson Series 500 Hardness Tester (Patel, 2008)

Figure 16. Jominy bar-shaped sample (Patel, 2008)



All raw data can be found in Appendix A along with sample calculations in Appendix B. The following table contained all raw data gathered during the experiment.

Andrew Braum, 3/27/08, 1:45 PM, 1 ATM, 70F RAW DATA Jominy End Quench Rockwell Hardness C Scale Test Distance (in) 1040 1090 4340 0 61 64 55 1/16 56 64 53 1/8 54 63 50 3/16 42 60 53 1/4 34 45 51 5/16 31 47 52 3/8 30 45 51 7/16 30 44 52 1/2 28 45 51 9/16 29 44 51 5/8 27 45 48 11/16 28 42 50 3/4 25 42 48 13/16 26 42 50 7/8 25 42 49 15/16 26 42 49 1 24 40 48 1 1/8 25 40 49 1 1/4 18 40 50 1 3/8 22 39 49 1 1/2 22 38 51 1 5/8 22 37 49 1 3/4 19 36 49 1 7/8 21 34 49 2 16 35 49

Table 1. Raw data of Rockwell C Hardness values for 1040 Steel, 1090 Steel, and 4340 Steel for distances from 0 inches to 2 inches in increments of 1 16 of an inch.

Using the data gathered from the Rockwell C Hardness tests, a graph was generated as a function of the distance from the quenched end. The following Graph 1 summarized the data graphically.


Jominy End Quench Hardness vs. Test Distance

1040 Steel 70 Rockwell Hardness C Scale 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
1/ 8 5/ 8 3/ 4 1/ 4 3/ 8 1/ 2 7/ 8 1/ 2 1/ 4 3/ 4 1 0 1 1 1 2

1090 Steel

4340 Steel

Jominy Test Distance (inches)

Graph 1. Rockwell C Hardness values for 1040 Steel, 1090 Steel, and 4340 Steel as a function of the distance from the quenched end.

Clearly the trends have shown that both the 1040 and 1090 steels had a significant drop in hardness as hardness values were taken further and further away from the quenched end. The 4340, on the other hand, showed a relatively level trend, which suggested nearly uniform hardness values everywhere on the sample. As compared to Figure 10 (discussed in the Theory and Analysis section), the 4340 steel exhibited a similar trend of uniform hardenability throughout the entire depth of the test sample. The 1040 and 1090 samples had similar trends in that as the Jominy test distance increased the hardness values decreased. It should also be noted


that the 1090 samples had the highest hardness values at and near the quenched end of the sample. This was consistent with the theory because the 1090 had more carbon content (0.9% ) than both the 1040 and 4340 (0.4% ) . The higher carbon content of the 1090 steel correlated to higher hardness values but the addition of alloying elements correlated to the higher hardenability of the 4340 steel.

Figure 10 showed that 4340 also had an initial hardness value less than 1080 (close to a 1090 steel) or 1050 steels (close to a 1040 steel) which were also consistent with data from Chart 1. Figure 10 suggested hardness values for 4340 to be around 60; for 1050 to go from about 62 dropping to 16; and for 1080 to go from about 68 dropping to about 30 in Rockwell C scale hardness. Data from the lab showed hardness values for 4340 to be around 50 to 54; for 1040 to go from 61 dropping to 16; and for 1090 to go from 64 dropping to 35 in Rockwell C scale hardness.



The following are conclusions made for this experiment:

The 1040 and 1090 steels hardness drops off as the Jominy test distance increases. The 4340 steels hardness stays relatively level at about 50-54 in Rockwell C hardness as the Jominy test distance increases.

The 1090 steel has initial hardness values higher than those for the 1040 and 4340 steels because of the higher carbon content (0.5% weight more carbon).

Trends for the 1040, 1090, and 4340 steels are consistent with referenced literature for 1050 (comparable to 1040), 1080 (comparable to 1090), and 4340 steels.

Carbon content increases the hardness of the sample but only near the quenched end. Alloying elements are the determining factor in steels hardenability.

The following are recommendations made for this experiment:

Perform additional Jominy End Quench Experiments on other steel alloys to confirm the best combination of alloying elements as they correlate to hardenability.


Askeland, D.R., & Phule, P.P. (2006). The Science and Engineering of Materials. Thomson Canada Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Es-Said, O. (2008). Personal communication (lecture notes). Los Angeles, CA: Loyola Marymount University. McGannon, H.E. (1971). The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel, United States Steel, 9th edition. Herbick & Held, Pittsburgh, PA. Patel, D. (2008). Experimental Pictures. Los Angeles, CA: Loyola Marymount University. Saniei, N., & Es-Said, O. (2007). Laboratory Manual, MECH 342 Mechanical Engineering Lab II. Department of Mechanical Engineering. Los Angles, CA: Loyola Marymount University. Thelning, K.-E. (1984). Steel and its heat treatment, 2nd edition. Butterworths, London, Great Britain.