Multi-component Cu-Strengthened Steel Welding Simulations: Atom Probe Tomography and Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction Analyses

Allen H. Hunter*, Jeffrey D. Farren, John N. DuPont, David N. Seidman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


An experimental steel with the composition Fe-1.39Cu-2.70Ni-0.58Al-0.48Mn-0.48Si-0.065Nb-0.05C (wt pct) or alternatively Fe-1.43Cu-2.61Ni-1.21Al-0.48Mn-0.98Si-0.039Nb-0.23C (at. pct) has been developed at Northwestern University, which has both high toughness and high strength after quenching and aging treatments. Simulated heat-affected zone (HAZ) samples are utilized to analyze the microstructures typically obtained after gas metal arc welding (GMAW). Dissolution within the HAZ of cementite (Fe3C) and NbC (F.C.C.) is revealed using synchrotron X-ray diffraction, while dissolution of Cu precipitates is measured employing local electrode atom probe tomography. The results are compared to Thermo-Calc equilibrium calculations. Comparison of measured Cu precipitate radii, number density, and volume fraction with similar measurements from a GMAW sample suggests that the cooling rate in the simulations is faster than in the experimental GMAW sample, resulting in significantly less Cu precipitate nucleation and growth during the cooling part of the weld thermal cycle. The few Cu precipitates detected in the simulated samples are primarily located on grain boundaries resulting from heterogeneous nucleation. The dissolution of NbC precipitates and the resultant austenite coarsening in the highest-temperature sample, coupled with a rapid cooling rate, results in the growth of bainite, and an increase in the strength of the matrix in the absence of significant Cu precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2899
Pages (from-to)3117-3131
Number of pages15
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 26 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Multi-component Cu-Strengthened Steel Welding Simulations: Atom Probe Tomography and Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction Analyses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this