Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering

First Adviser

DuPont, John N.

Other advisers/committee members

Vinci, Richard P.; Watanabe, Masashi; Abrahams, Rachel A.


Eglin steel is a new ultra-high strength steel that has been developed at Eglin Air Force Base in the early 2000s. This steel could be subjected to a variety of processing steps during fabrication, each with its own thermal history. This article presents a continuous cooling transformation diagram developed for Eglin steel to be used as a guideline during processing. Dilatometry techniques performed on a Gleeble thermo-mechanical simulator were combined with microhardness results and microstructural characterization to develop the diagram. The results show that four distinct microstructures form within Eglin steel depending on the cooling rate. At cooling rates above about 1 °C/s, a predominately martensitic microstructure is formed with hardness of ~520 HV. Intermediate cooling rates of 1 °C/s to 0.2 °C/s produce a mixed martensitic/bainitic microstructure with a hardness that ranges from 520 - 420 HV. Slower cooling rates of 0.1 °C/s to 0.03 °C/s lead to the formation of a bainitic microstructure with a hardness of ~420 HV. The slowest cooling rate of 0.01 °C/s formed a bainitic microstructure with pearlite at the prior austenite grain boundaries.A comprehensive study was performed to correlate the mechanical properties and the microstructural evolution in the heat affected zone of thermally simulated Eglin steel. A Gleeble 3500 thermo-mechanical simulator was used to resistively heat samples of wrought Eglin steel according to calculated thermal cycles with different peak temperatures at a heat input of 1500 J/mm. These samples underwent mechanical testing to determine strength and toughness, in both the `as-simulated' condition and also following post-weld heat treatments. Mechanical testing has shown that the inter-critical heat affected zone (HAZ) has the lowest strength following thermal simulation, and the fine-grain and coarse-grain heat affected zone having an increased strength when compared to the inter-critical HAZ. The toughness of the heat affected zone in the as-simulated condition is lower than that of the base metal. Post-weld heat treatments (PWHT) have been shown to increase the toughness of the HAZ, but at the expense of strength. In addition, certain combinations of PWHTs within specific HAZ regions have exhibited low toughness caused by tempered martensite embrittlement or intergranular failure. Synchrotron X-ray diffraction data has shown that Eglin steel has retained austenite in the fine-grain HAZ in the as-simulated condition. In addition, alloy carbides (M23C6, M2C, M7C3) have been observed in the diffraction spectra for the fine-grain and coarse-grain HAZ following a PWHT of 700 °C / 4 hours. A first attempt at thermodynamic modeling has been undertaken using MatCalc to try to predict the evolution of carbides in the HAZ following thermal cycling and PWHT.