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Stainless steels sintered form the mixture of prealloyed stainless steel and alloying element powders

The aim of the presented paper is to describe the sintered duplex stainless steels manufactured in sinter-hardening process and their structural and mechanical properties. Duplex stainless steels were obtained through powder metallurgy starting from austenitic 316L or ferritic 410L prealloyed base powders by controlled addition of alloying elements powder. Prepared mixes were compacted at 700MPa and sintered in a vacuum furnace with argon backfilling at temperature of 1240°C for 1h. After sintering different cooling cycles were applied: rapid cooling (6°C/s) using nitrogen under pressure and slow cooling (0.1°C/s) with furnace in argon atmosphere. Produced sintered duplex stainless steels were studied by scanning and optical microscopy and EDS chemical analysis of microstructure components as well as X-ray analysis. Mechanical properties were studied through tensile and three-point bending tests and Charpy impact test. It was demonstrated that austenitic-ferritic microstructures with regular arrangement of both phases and absence of precipitates can be obtained with properly designed powder mix composition as well as sintering cycle with rapid cooling rate. Produced sintered duplex steels show good mechanical properties which depend on austenite/ferrite ratio in the microstructure and elements partitioning (Cr/Ni) between phases. The optimal mechanical properties were obtained for compositions based on ferritic 410L powder where the balanced distribution of α and γ is present and the tensile strength can reach value about 500MPa with 16% of elongation and impact energy about 120J. The precipitations of hard intermetallic σ-FeCr phase take place when sintering with slow cooling cycle what cause substantial decrease of plastic properties, including reduce of elongation to 7% and in particular decrease of impact energy to 68 J.
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