Comparison of the microstructures in continuous-cooled and quench-tempered pre-hardened mould steels
Magazine article, 2011
The increased demand for plastic mould steels in pre-hardened condition has drawn the attention to this specific type of steel. As a result, more investigations are performed to understand microstructure and properties. In this work, the microstructures of two pre-hardened plastic mould steels, one quench-tempered (Uddeholm Impax HH) and the other continuously cooled (Uddeholm Nimax), are studied in delivery condition by means of different microscopy techniques and are linked to their production procedure. The results show that the quench-tempered material contains large amounts of M3C carbides formed within the martensite plates as well as at the lath- and prior austenite grain boundaries. A few coarser Cr-rich M7C3 carbides have also been found. In comparison, the microstructure of the continuously cooled material consists of mainly bainite with much lower density and finer cementite particles. The hardness is with similar to 40 HRC more or less constant over the cross section of both materials.
Scanning electron microscopy
Ferrous metals and alloys