By alloy design based on demands for formability and high martensitic hardness, a new high-carbon, low-alloy steel has been developed. The steel, which minimizes the use of all elements except carbon and molybdenum, exhibits a microstructure and properties normally not attained in high-carbon steels. On retarded cooling, the steel, which has eutectoid composition, generates substantial amounts of pro-eutectoid ferrite in combination with a coarse, degenerated pearlite. The pro-eutectoid is not ferrite, but an eutectoid itself composed of nanometer-sized, evenly distributed molybdenum carbides and ferrite.
The new steel provides a soft and formable structure in the as-rolled condition, and hardens to high martensitic hardness at austenitization conditions equal to those used for high-carbon, low-alloy steels.
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