MATERIALS CHARACTERIZATION, vol.155, 2019 (SCI-Expanded)
The influence of friction stir processing (FSP) on the microstructure and mechanical properties of a DP 600 steel has been studied. The microstructure evolution during the FSP has been characterized using electron back scatter diffraction (EBSD) technique and scanning and transmission electron microscopes. Standard tension and hardness tests were used to characterize the mechanical properties. The results show that the FSP produced a refined microstructure composed of ferrite, bainite, martensite, and tempered martensite which in turn increased the hardness and strength magnitudes by a factor of 1.5. The initially 2.83 mu m average grain size of ferrite has decreased to 0.79 mu m in the pin effected zone of (PE-SZ-I) of the processed region. Both EBSD and TEM observations showed regions with high dislocation density and sub-structures region in the processed zone. The grain size became coarser, the density of both dislocations and low-angle grain boundaries decrease, away from the processed zone. Moreover, phase fractions and hardness values were predicted using CALPHAD thermodynamic based software based on commercial material properties. Although the prediction does not take into consideration the influence of severe plastic deformation, the results were within 10% uncertainties of the experimental findings. The present study demonstrates that an ultra-fine grained structure can be obtained through the thickness of a 1.5 mm thick D P600 steel sheet via FSP. FSP can produce a range of different hardness and strength values; which can also be predicted successfully by inputting the composition and local temperatures reached during the FSP.