Prototype evaluation of transformation toughened blast resistant naval hull steels: Part II

A. Saha*, J. Jung, G. B. Olson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Application of a systems approach to computational materials design led to the theoretical design of a transformation toughened ultratough high-strength plate steel for blast-resistant naval hull applications. A first prototype alloy has achieved property goals motivated by projected naval hull applications requiring extreme fracture toughness (C v > 85 ft-lbs or 115 J corresponding to K Id> 200 ksi.in1/2 or 220 MPa.m 1/2) at strength levels of 150-180 ksi (1,030-1,240 MPa) yield strength in weldable, formable plate steels. A continuous casting process was simulated by slab casting the prototype alloy as a 1.75″ (4.45 cm) plate. Consistent with predictions, compositional banding in the plate was limited to an amplitude of 6-7.5 wt% Ni and 3.5-5 wt% Cu. Examination of the oxide scale showed no evidence of hot shortness in the alloy during hot working. Isothermal transformation kinetics measurements demonstrated achievement of 50% bainite in 4 min at 360 °C. Hardness and tensile tests confirmed predicted precipitation strengthening behavior in quench and tempered material. Multi-step tempering conditions were employed to achieve the optimal austenite stability resulting in significant increase of impact toughness to 130 ft-lb (176 J) at a strength level of 160 ksi (1,100 MPa). Comparison with the baseline toughness-strength combination determined by isochronal tempering studies indicates a transformation toughening increment of 65% in Charpy energy. Predicted Cu particle number densities and the heterogeneous nucleation of optimal stability high Ni 5 nm austenite on nanometer-scale copper precipitates in the multi-step tempered samples was confirmed using three-dimensional atom probe microanalysis. Charpy impact tests and fractography demonstrate ductile fracture with C v > 80 ft-lbs (108 J) down to -40 °C, with a substantial toughness peak at 25 °C consistent with designed transformation toughening behavior. The properties demonstrated in this first prototype represent a substantial advance over existing naval hull steels. Achieving these improvements in a single design and prototyping iteration is a significant advance in computational materials design capability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-233
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Computer-Aided Materials Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Austenite dispersion
  • Copper precipitation
  • Dilatometry
  • Fracture toughness
  • Impact toughness
  • Materials design
  • Multi-step tempering
  • Optimal stability
  • Tensile
  • Three-dimensional atom probe (3DAP)
  • Yield strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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