Institute of Metals Division - Precipitation Phenomena in the Solid Solutions of Nitrogen and Carbon in Alpha Iron below the Eutectoid Temperature

Dijkstra, L. J.
Organization: The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1950
During the past several years an extensive study has been made of the internal friction of iron containing carbon or nitrogen in solid solution.1,2,3,4,5 It has been found that a sharp peak is observed in a plot of the internal friction vs. temperature of measurement. With a frequency of about one cycle per second, this peak occurs at 20°C for N and 36°C for C. The physical origin of this anomalous internal friction was traced by Snoekl to the local tetragonal symmetry of the interstitial positions in body centered cubic (bcc) iron. A change in stress induces a change in the equilibrium distribution of the interstitial atoms among the three types of interstitial positions, the three types corresponding to the three directions along which the tetragonal axis may lie. It is the continual striving of the interstitial atoms to maintain an equilibrium distribution that gives rise to a phase lag between strain and stress during oscillation, and hence, to internal friction. A similar type of internal friction has been observed in the bcc lattice of tantalum containing in interstitial solid solution C, N or 06. The theory of this anomalous internal friction leads to the prediction that its magnitude is strictly proportional to the concentration of either the carbon or the nitrogen in solid solution, provided the concentrations are small. This prediction has been verified3 for the range of solubilities ohtainable in alpha iron. This proportionality provides us with a new tool for the study of nitrogen and carbon in alpha iron. It thus enables one directly to follow the precipitation of either of these solute atoms from solid solution and also directly to measure their solubility as a function of temperature. A preliminary study of precipitation using this method has already been presented by the author.3 The purpose of this paper is to present more extensive observations upon the precipitation of N and C in alpha iron, as well as to present observations upon the solubility of N and C in alpha iron which, at least in the lower tempera- ture range, are believed more accurate than those previously obtained by other methods. The interpretation of the observations upon precipitation involves the use of the appropriate equilibrium diagrams. For ease of future reference in this paper the equilibriunl diagrams for the Fe-N and Fe-C systems are accordingly reproduced as Fig 1 and 2, respective]y. Experimental Procedure The specimens were made of West-inghouse Puron iron and consisted of wires 0.025 in. in diam and about 1 ft long. By a wet hydrogen treatment the specimens were purified of C and N. In
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