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Acicular ferrite

Acicular ferrite consists of a fine structure of interlocking ferrite plates (sometimes called 'dark etching').

Acicular ferrite is formed in the interior of the original austenitic grains by direct nucleation from the inclusions, resulting in randomly oriented short ferrite needles with a 'basket weave' appearance. This interlocking nature, together with its fine grain size (0.5 to 5um with aspect ratio from 3:1 to 10:1), provides maximum resistance to crack propagation by cleavage. Acicular ferrite is also characterised by high angle boundaries between the ferrite grains. This further reduces the chance of cleavage, because these boundaries impede crack propagation. It is reported that nucleation of various ferrite morphologies is aided by nonmetallic inclusion; in particular oxygen-rich inclusions of a certain type and size are associated with the intragranular formation of acicular ferrite. Acicular ferrite is a fine Widmanstätten constituent, which is nucleated by an optimum intragranular dispersion of oxide/sulphide/silicate particles.

Composition control of the weld metal is necessary in order to maximise the volume fraction of acicular ferrite, because excessive alloying elements can cause the formation of bainite and martensite.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Acicular_ferrite". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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