Design and Characterization of a Heat-Resistant Ferritic Steel Strengthened by MX Precipitates

Yao Du, Xiaolin Li, Xu Zhang, Yip Wah Chung, Dieter Isheim*, Semyon Vaynman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The long-term performance of current heat-resistant ferritic steels used in steam generators is primarily limited by microstructure degradation as a result of coarsening or transformation of precipitates. To improve the microstructural stability, a heat-resistant ferritic steel was designed via computational thermodynamics to exclusively contain metal carbonitride (MX) precipitates as the primary means for strengthening at elevated temperatures. The volume fraction of precipitates is 0.35 vol pct, about one-seventh of P91. These MX precipitates are either V-rich or Nb-rich with plate-like or spheroidal morphology, respectively. The precipitate size remains almost constant at 973 K for up to 3000 hours aging. Electron diffraction analysis revealed a Baker-Nutting orientation relationship between the precipitate and the matrix. Consistent with the thermodynamics-based design, M23C6-, Laves-, and Z phase were not detected. The creep threshold stress, derived from high-temperature compressive creep tests, are evaluated to be 63 ± 1 and 43 ± 2 MPa at 923 K and 973 K, respectively, on par with or slightly better than P91. This study reveals that MX precipitates in ferritic steels coarsen slowly at temperatures up to 973 K and that a relatively small volume fraction of MX precipitates can provide effective long-term creep performance at elevated temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-647
Number of pages10
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


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