A commercial unalloyed ductile iron has been developed to produce a multiphase matrix microstructure consisting of lenticular prior martensite, feathery upper bainite and a nano-scaled super bainite of lath bainitic ferrite and carbon-enriched film retained austenite. Multi-step heat treatment composed of austenizing, rapidly quenching and isothermally holding at low temperature have been developed. A tensile strength of more than 1.6 GPa, a hardness higher than HRC 54, and an elongation in excess of 5%, are achieved. This is attributed to a synergistic multi-phase strengthening effect. The developed nano super bainite exhibits a good balance between strength and toughness. The presence of martensite formed during the quenching prior to the isothermal treatment, accelerates the kinetics of subsequent nano super bainitic transformation by bainitic laths nucleating quickly at the martensite-austenite interfaces.
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