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Application of isothermal heat treatment for perlite rail-steel DOI:10.15199/28.2017.2.4

  Rail steel production consists of proper combination of alloying elements and heat treatment, where a wide range of grades can be produced, differing in terms of hardness and the corresponding resistance to wear. A railway’s choice of rail grade is made in terms of traffic and track conditions and excellent service life can be achieved, particularly if modern rail head lubrication and grinding practices are used. This investigations deal with changing the standard heat treatment, based on classic perlitic steel to save energy during the production. For this reason the investigated R350HT steel was subjected to isothermal heat treatment, consisting of hardening to obtain bainitic microstructure. The steel was then annealed, after this step a further cooling took place with furnace then final cooling have been made in air. The microstructure of the steel was examined in the light metallographic microscope Zeiss and scanning electron microscope. In addition, on samples cross-section Vicker's microhardness examination was performed as well as friction wear test was carried out with the use of a tribometer. Also Charpy impact toughness test was performed at room temperature for evaluation of the obtained mechanical properties. On the basis of the carried out analysis of the light microscope structure investigations, it was found, that the microstructure of the R350B steel was formed of relative large irregular grains. The obtained results of the mechanical properties investigations reveals only a low increase of the hardness, wear resistance of the 350B steel compared to the classical 350HT steel. The obtained results have not confirmed the occurrence of the bainitic structure in the 350B steel, however the present ferritic structure reveals some advantage related mainly to lower energy consumption during heat treatment with a hardness and wear resistance values nearly on the same level as in case of the 350HT steel. Key words: isothermal hea[...]

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