Microalloyed steels are widely used in oil and gas pipelines. They are a class of high strength, low carbon steels containing small additions (in amounts less than 0.1 wt%) of Nb, Ti and/or V. The steels may contain other alloying elements, such as Mo, in amounts exceeding 0.1wt%. Precipitation in these steels can be controlled through thermomechanical controlled processing, leading to precipitates with sizes ranging from several microns to a few nanometers. The larger precipitates are essentially TiN, with partial substitution of Nb for Ti, while the smaller precipitates are based on NbC, with Ti, Mo and V partially substituting for Nb and N partially substituting for C. Microalloyed steels have good strength, good toughness and excellent weldability, which are attributed in part to the presence of the nano-sized carbides and carbonitrides. Because of their fine sizes and low volume fraction, conventional microscopic methods are not satisfactory for quantifying these precipitates. Matrix dissolution is a promising alternative to extract the precipitates for quantification. Relatively large volumes of material can be analyzed, so that statistically significant quantities of precipitates of different sizes are collected. In this paper, matrix dissolution techniques have been developed to extract the precipitates from a series of microalloyed steels. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) are combined to analyze the chemical speciation of these precipitates. Rietveld refinement of the XRD pattern is used to fully quantify the relative amounts of the precipitates. The size distribution of the nano-sized precipitates is quantified using dark field imaging in the TEM.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.