Microstructural Analysis of Powder Metallurgy Tool Steels in the Context of Abrasive Wear Behavior: A New Computerized Approach to Stereology

Benito, S. and Wulbieter, N. and Pöhl, F. and Theisen, W.

Volume: 28 Pages: 2919-2936
DOI: 10.1007/s11665-019-04036-9
Published: 2019

The present work describes a new methodology designed to characterize the microstructures of tool steels containing carbide hard phases, with the focus set on their abrasive wear resistance. A series of algorithms were designed and implemented in MATLAB® to (i) recognize each of the features of interest, (ii) measure relevant quantities and (iii) characterize each of the phases and the alloy in function of attributes usually neglected in wear description applications: size distribution, shape and contiguity of the hard phases. The new framework incorporates new parameters to describe each one of these attributes, as observed in SEM micrographs. All three aforementioned stages contain novel contributions that can be potentially beneficial to the field of materials design in general and to the field of alloy design for severely abrasive environments in particular. Models of known geometry and micrographs of different powder metallurgy steels were analyzed, and the obtained results were compared with the obtained by the linear intercept method. The relation between the new parameters and the ones available in the scientific literature is also discussed. © 2019, ASM International.

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