Carbon Distribution in Ferritic-Martensitic Fe-Cr-C Alloys

<div><p>Carbon distribution in Fe-Cr-C alloys with a variety of Cr concentrations is studied based on internal friction, optical and transmission-electron microscopy. It is found that the carbon distribution strongly depends on initial microstructure, being ferritic or ferritic/martensitic, which is determined by the thermal treatment, and Cr and carbon concentrations. In the quenched alloys, carbon is observed in the form of small carbon-vacancy complexes, most probably two carbon - single vacancy cluster, 2CV, that dissolve at about 500 K. In tempered alloys, the carbon atoms are observed to be uniformly distributed only in Fe-2.5Cr-C alloy, which is fully ferrite. In the alloys with 5-12% of Cr, with ferritic/martensitic microstructure, carbon-Snoek relaxation peak is not observed due to the carbon precipitation, as well as due to atomic carbon being trapped at dislocations and grain boundaries. In both quenched and tempered alloys, the plastic deformation causes the appearance of the broad relaxation peak close to 300 K which could be assigned to dissolution of single carbon - single vacancy, CV, complexes.</p></div>