Development of a mathematical equation describing the strain hardening behaviour of metastable AISI 301 austenitic stainless steel

20 Apr 2020

The strain hardening behaviour of AISI 301 metastable austenite steel was analysed by evaluating tensile data against the empirical mathematical equations of Hollomon, Ludwik and Ludwigson. It was found that these equations were inadequate to model this TRIP steel with low stacking fault energy (SFE). It was found that the fraction of strain-induced martensite could be expressed as a sigmoidal function of the applied strain. The log-log plots of true stress and true plastic strain from 5% to εUTS performed with uniaxial isothermal tests at 30 oC were thereafter adequately fitted with a sigmoidal curve. The instantaneous strain hardening exponent was determined as the slope of the above-mentioned sigmoidal curve at a specific strain value. The strain hardening exponent and the rate of strain hardening (dσ/dε) increases with deformation due to formation of strain-induced martensite to a maximum and thereafter decreases as the volume fraction of strain-induced martensite approximates saturation. The variation of the instantaneous strain hardening exponent as a function of plastic strain and the strength coefficient, K, at 30 oC was deduced. A high value of K, 1526MPa, was determined. A correlation between the extent of martensitic transformation and the value of the instantaneous strain hardening exponent was observed. This work is part of the project that seeks to develop a constitutive model describing the flow stress during plastic deformation as a function of both plastic strain and the resulting martensitic transformation at different temperatures and strain rates and which accounts for the isotropic hardening process.