Combinatorial monitoring of the composition-dependent microstructure dynamics in steels
Designing new steels and their processing is a challenging task, which relies on a many-dimension
design space, far too vast to be explored in totality. The steel industry is in urgent need of a
methodology to determine more effectively how the microstructure depends on the chemical
composition and on the processing parameters, to feed materials models, responding to societal needs
and improving process control with an industry 4.0 approach. The project shall develop such a
methodology, thereby obtaining dynamic time-resolved microstructure maps in compositional space.
This goal will be achieved by fabricating compositionally graded steels with careful control of the solute
spatial distribution, followed by time and space-resolved high energy X-ray diffraction during in-situ
heat treatments. The sample will be continuously moved with respect to the X-ray beam, yielding for
each ~1h experiment of the order of 100 phase transformation kinetics (100 data points each), thanks
to the properties of the EBS source. Strategic scientific cases defined with the industrial partner
include: ferrite-to-austenite transformation and cementite dissolution during annealing, bainitic
transformation in third-generation advanced high strength steels, and precipitation of carbides in bainitic
and martensitic steels.