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Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347

The effect of nitrogen on the cold forging

properties of 1020 steel
T.J. Douthit, C.J. Van Tyne

Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA
Received 17 April 2001; accepted 6 August 2003
We have studied the effect of nitrogen on the cold forging properties of a low carbon steel as a function of temperature. Five AISI 1020
steels with nitrogen contents from 12 to 180 ppm were examined by tensile testing from 25 to 371

C. Yield strength, tensile elongation

(ductility), ultimate tensile strength (UTS), strain hardening exponents and strength coefcients were determined. The inuence of nitrogen
on the mechanical property behavior of this low carbon steel exhibits trends as expectedwhen nitrogen content increases, the strength of
the steel increases and the ductility decreases. Likewise, as the temperature increases, the strength of the steel generally decreases; however,
the ductility initially decreases, then exhibits an increasing trend. Additionally, there is an intermediate temperature range for these alloys
where anomalous behavior is observed. Serrated stressstrain curves seen in this temperature range are indicative of dynamic strain aging. It
is probable that this anomalous mechanical property trend is due to dynamic strain aging.
2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Nitrogen in steel; Cold forging properties; Dynamic strain aging
1. Introduction
The ability to successfully cold forge a particular part de-
pends upon a number of factors related both to the forging
process itself and to the inherent properties of the metal. The
present work is similar to the work of Oren [1]. He showed
the effect of carbon on the mechanical behavior of plain car-
bon steels in the ferrite/pearlite region. His data has been very
useful to the cold forging industry in assessing the viability
of various steels for their operation. The focus of the present
study is to assess the effect of nitrogen on the mechanical
properties of a plain carbon steel. The results should provide
information to evaluate and model steel alloys for potential
application in the cold forging industry.
Several basic mechanical properties of AISI 1020 steel
(strength, ductility, and strain hardening parameters) were
evaluated as a function of the nitrogen content for tempera-

Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 303 273 3793; fax: +1 303 273 3795.
E-mail address: (C.J.V. Tyne).
tures from25 to 371

C. The results provide a clear indication

of how the nitrogen level inuences the cold formability of
2. Background
2.1. Cold forging
Several advantages of cold forming are:
high production rates;
excellent dimensional tolerances and surface nishes of
forged parts;
signicant savings in material and machining;
and higher tensile strengths in the forged part than in the
original material, because of strain hardening and favor-
able grain ow to improve strength.
Materials that exhibit reasonable ductility at room tem-
perature can be cold forged (e.g. AISI 1020) [2].
0924-0136/$ see front matter 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
336 T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347
Cold formability is a material property that depends on
the mechanical properties of the material as well as the shape
and size of the part. Therefore, the shape, size and particu-
lar steel grade must be considered when discussing the cold
formability of steels. The true stresstrue strain curve is af-
fected not only by the material and its condition, but also by
the rate of deformation and the temperature. In practice, the
evaluation of cold formability is made from the properties of
the material determined via tensile testing [3].
In cold forming, high strain hardening is benecial be-
cause it leads to higher values for mechanical strength prop-
erties (such as yield strength) in the forged part. On the other
hand, high strain hardening often necessitates an annealing
operation to enable further cold forming. Where higher defor-
mation must be achieved, annealing is necessary to minimize
the effect of strain hardening [4].
2.2. Alloy effects on cold formability
Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous are several alloy (or
residual) elements, which inuence the cold formability of
Oren showed the relationship of steel ductility as a func-
tion of carbon content with the temperature ranges normally
encountered during cold forging. He conducted tensile tests
on a range of commercial steels with varying carbon con-
tents. The temperature range used in his tests was 701300

Orens tensile testing showed how temperature and carbon
range affected ductility. He determined that as the carbon
content increased, there was a decrease in ductility [1].
When nitrogen is added to high strength lowalloy (HSLA)
steel, it signicantly affects the strength of the material. The
amount of nitrogen depends on the steelmaking practice and
is usually within 0.0060.012 mass% (60120 ppm). When
the nitrogen level is altered, steelmakers typically have to
adjust the contents of other alloy elements in order to meet
the strength requirements.
When phosphorus is added to steel, it is also a strength
enhancer because of its high solubility into the ferrite ma-
trix. However, achieving the desired increase in strength may
cause a decrease in ductility. Steels with carbon contents be-
low 0.15 mass% do not show the pronounced embrittling
effect that phosphorus is known to cause [5].
Other concerns withcoldformabilityare residual elements
and their effect on mechanical properties. With the increased
use of recycled scrap to make steel, the effect of residual
elements on ductility needs to be understood. Residual el-
ements, such as Cu, Cr, Ni, Si, and Mo have been identi-
ed as contributors to this effect. Research also shows that
reasonable concentrations of residual elements rarely inu-
ence the strength and ductility characteristics by more than
10% [6].
2.3. Effect of nitrogen on mechanical properties of steels
Nitrogen is present as a residual and sometimes as an al-
loying element in steel. However, due to its small quantities
it is generally ignored but the effect on many properties is
signicant. During yielding, nitrogen is known to have com-
parable atomsize as carbon atoms. These atoms enter steel as
interstitial solute in both the austenite and ferrite lattice. The
solubility is limited in both lattice structures since the inter-
stitial sites are appreciable small than these interstitial atoms.
Therefore, the lattice will be strained elastically. Once nitro-
gen and carbon are present in steel, they will aid in pinning
dislocations that will form discontinuous yield point in an-
nealed steels [7].
The elements found in steel will affect the solubility
of nitrogen in iron. Elements forming stable nitrides such
as aluminum, niobium, vanadium, or titanium, decrease
the nitrogen solubility in molten iron, while elements like
manganese, chromium or molybdenum, though do not form
nitrides yet increase the nitrogen solubility noticeably since
afnity for nitrogen is great than that of iron [8]. Jones and
Foley report the ability to measure free nitrogen and its
effect on properties [9].
In order to suppress the nitrogen effects at ambient or tem-
peratures below100

C, the steels will need to be alloyed with

strong nitride forming elements (titanium, vanadium or alu-
minum). These precipitates of nitrogen (titanium, vanadium
or aluminum), will reduce the amount of free nitrogen. Tita-
niumforms a very stable nitride, which appears to be virtually
insoluble in austenite at temperatures up to 1350

C. When
reviewing the solubility curves, it is shown that aluminumni-
tride is more stable than vanadiumnitride. These nitrides will
dissolve in austenite if the temperature is high enough relative
to the solubility product. By using nitride-forming elements,
strain aging due to nitrogen can be reduced or eliminated;
however, one would produce a ner grain size with increased
yield strength [7].
Table 1
Chemical composition of as-received steels (mass%)
I.D. C Mn P S Si Cr Ni Mo Al O (ppm) N (ppm)
N012 0.20 0.55 0.001 0.003 0.20 0.02 0.03 0.01 0.024 22 12
N095 0.21 0.52 0.001 0.002 0.19 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.021 25 95
N139 0.21 0.52 0.002 0.002 0.19 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.021 22 139
N148 0.18 0.52 0.001 0.002 0.18 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.022 27 148
N180 0.21 0.51 0.002 0.003 0.19 0.03 0.04 0.01 0.018 28 180
AISI 1020
Range 0.18/0.23 0.30/0.60 0.04 max. 0.05 max.
T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347 337
Many recent studies of nitrogen in steels have focused on
the steelmaking processes rather than the effect nitrogen has
on the mechanical behavior of the nal product [1016].
2.4. Effects of nitrogen on dynamic strain aging
Nitrogen is highly effective in promoting dynamic
strain aging in steels. Physical manifestations of dynamic
strain aging in steels include a serrated ow curve, high
work hardening rate, negative or zero strain-rate sensitiv-
ity, pronounced strengthening and reduction of ductility
[17]. For carbon steels, dynamic strain aging is mainly
caused by the interaction of interstitial solutes (C or N) or
interstitialsubstitutional solute pairs (MnC or MnN) with
dislocations. Manganese interacts weakly with carbon and
nitrogen in ferrite. However, internal friction studies show
that nitrogen atoms prefer sites next to manganese atoms,
rather than sites where they are surrounded by iron atoms.
Therefore, by forming MnC or MnN pairs, manganese re-
duces the mobility of interstitial solutes while increasing the
strength of the steel. Dynamic strain aging is reduced by the
additions of manganese [17,18].
Steel properties can also be impaired due to migration of
nitrogen during deformation. For example, in deep drawing
sheet steels, aluminum combines with nitrogen and forms
aluminum nitride [19]. Aluminum killing reduces the ten-
dency for strain aging, but fully killed steel is more prone to
surface cracking during upsetting operations.
Fig. 1. Micrographs of as-received steels.
338 T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347
Table 2
Hardness values of the as-received steels
Nitrogen content (ppm)
12 95 139 148 180
Hardness (HRB) 65.3 1.5 71.7 1.2 70.7 1.5 72 0.0 74.3 1.2
Note: uncertainty is 1S.D.
3. Experimental procedure
3.1. Experimental materials
AISI 1020 steel was chosen for this study based upon
its widespread usage in the cold forming industry. Five lab-
oratory heats of AISI 1020, with varying nitrogen contents,
were obtained. Processing of the heats included hot upsetting
at 1230

C into 63.5 mm 127 mm billets. They were then

hot rolled into 15.9 mm plate at a temperature of 1230

The chemical compositions of these heats are shown in
Table 1. Micrographs of the as-received steels are shown
in Fig. 1. The as-received condition is mostly ferrite with
patches of pearlite, which is expected for AISI 1020. Hard-
ness values were also measured and are shown in both
Table 2 and Fig. 2. It should be noted that the chemical
composition of these steels is very similar, except for the
nitrogen content. The 148 ppm N alloy is slightly lower
in carbon content as compared to the other four steels,
but it falls within the acceptable range of carbon for AISI
Although the as-received steels were in a suitable state
for cold forming, a heat treatment study was performed to
provide a uniform structure and grain size in order to min-
imize the microstructural variation for this study. This heat
treatment was also performed to minimize the variation in
the initial hardness levels.
3.2. Heat treating
The heat treatment study was performed to nd the right
processing to reach a uniform structure in terms of hardness,
volume fractions of pearlite and the grain size. A sample of
each steel was normalized at 890, 915, 940 and 965

Cfor 1 h
and then air cooled. The microstructure had a more uniform
grain size (as compared to the as-received condition), with
equiaxed ferrite and some pearlite present. Hardness values,
volume fractions of pearlite, and the grain size were deter-
mined, and the results are shown in Table 3. The heat treat-
ment that was used for the project is a temperature of 915

for 1 h and then the material was air cooled. This treatment is
consistent with industrial practice. Fig. 3 shows that the heat
treatment at 915

C produced a similar microstructure in all

of the steels, as well as producing a more uniform hardness
in the steels (Fig. 4), and a more uniform ferrite grain size
(Fig. 5).
It is interesting to note that although there are signicant
differences in nitrogen content (from 12 to 180 ppm) in the
experimental steels, the microstructures as shown in Fig. 3 are
essentially the same. Any difference in mechanical properties
will be due to the interstitial solid solution strengthening that
nitrogencontributes tothese steels rather thanmicrostructural
The similarity in ferrite grain size and the narrowhardness
range that the steels exhibit also indicate that nitrogen does
Fig. 2. Hardness of as-received steels.
T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347 339
Table 3
Volume fraction, grain size and hardness after heat treatment
Temperature (

C) Nitrogen content (ppm) Pearlite (%) Ferrite grain size (ASTM no.) Hardness (HRB)
890 12 19.7 9 71.2 1.3
95 19.6 9 75.6 1.5
139 17.0 9 69.8 1.8
148 17.7 8 76.6 2.4
180 16.8 7 77.8 1.1
915 12 20.0 9.61 0.10 71.6 0.9
95 19.8 9.64 0.12 73.4 2.3
139 17.8 9.76 0.15 73.4 3.2
148 16.1 9.66 0.08 75.8 0.8
180 19.3 9.64 0.14 77.2 0.8
940 12 16.8
75.0 8.0
95 18.6 8 73.2 0.8
139 17.8 7 71.4 1.5
148 16.7 9 74.6 3.3
180 19.3 8 77.2 1.8
965 12 21.5
70.0 2.6
95 18.6 9 73.0 1.6
139 17.7 9 70.8 1.8
148 15.3 9 72.6 2.1
180 18.7 8 79.4 4.7
Note: uncertainty is 1S.D.

Widmanst atten ferrite.

not have a major effect on the austenite decomposition trans-
formation. Since the nitride forming elements of titanium,
vanadium and niobium are not present in the steels and the
aluminum content in each of the steels is very similar as in-
dicted in Table 1, the effect of nitride precipitates should be
very similar in all of the experimental steels.
3.3. Tensile testing
Standard round tensile bars with a 6.35 mm diameter re-
duced section, and a 25.4 mm gage length, were both heat
treated and machined fromthe 15.9 mmplate steel. The sam-
ples were strained to fracture in uniaxial tension on an MTS
hydraulic test frame. The engineering strain rate during test-
ing was held constant at 0.017 s
. A clam-shell furnace was
then tted over the test frame and used to control the tempera-
ture within 4

C. This temperature variation was conrmed

by temperature measurements during testing. The tempera-
ture range for tensile testing was from ambient temperature
to 371

C in increments of 55

An external extensometer was used to measure specimen
displacement during the tests. Because of the lower stiffness
in the system when an external extensometer is used, a
calibration curve was developed to relate the measured dis-
placement with the actual displacement of the sample. In the
analysis of the data, the external measurements were adjusted
so that they matched the directly attached measurements.
Four specimens of each type of steel were tensile tested at
each temperature. The data were acquired by use of a com-
puter. The yield strength, ultimate tensile strength (UTS),
and strain hardening parameters were calculated fromthe ac-
quireddata. The strainhardeningparameters were determines
over the engineering strain range of 520%. The tensile elon-
gation was then measured after fracture with digital calipers.
4. Results
Tensile stressstrain curves for the ve steels are shown in
Figs. 610. There are several obvious features to these curves,
which occur for all of the steels. Discontinuous yielding is
seen in all of the steels up to a temperature of 260

C. Above
this temperature, the yield point phenomenon is not observed;
the steels exhibit a smooth transition from elastic to plastic
behavior. The second feature that should be noted about these
curves is the serrated stressstrain behavior at the intermedi-
ate temperatures. This is indicative of dynamic stain aging,
which would be expected in steels containing free nitrogen.
Table 4 presents the fraction of test samples for each steel
at each temperature that showed dynamic strain aging. The
steels with the higher nitrogen content showed the dynamic
Table 4
Fraction of specimens showing dynamic strain aging behavior
N (ppm) Temperatures (

25 38 93 149 204 260 316 371
12 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 1.00 0.75 0.00
95 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.25 0.75 1.00 1.00 0.00
139 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.75 1.00 1.00 0.50 0.00
148 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.25 1.00 1.00 0.00 0.00
180 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.00 0.00
340 T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347
Fig. 3. Micrographs of steels heat treated at 915

C and air cooled.

strain aging at lower temperatures, whereas the steels with
lower nitrogen exhibited dynamic strain aging to higher tem-
From these stressstrain curves, the various tensile prop-
erties of the steels can be extracted. Numerical values for the
tensile properties of the steels are presented in Tables 59.
Table 5 shows the yield strength of the steel as a function of
nitrogen content and temperature. Aplot of the yield strength
as a function of temperature for the ve steels is given in
Fig. 11. The trends shown in the gure are as expected. The
yield strength decreases with decreasing nitrogen content and
with increasing temperature.
Table 5
Yield strength (in MPa) of steels
N (ppm) Temperatures (

25 38 93 149 204 260 316 371
12 289.1 5.46 274.3 12.06 277.7 3.39 254.6 9.04 231.1 12.60 235.9 6.19 242.7 6.69 242.1 4.03
95 321.0 5.26 312.9 5.96 303.6 10.02 291.4 13.22 232.6 16.05 226.0 9.26 232.7 5.88 239.7 3.32
139 319.9 12.46 304.6 4.35 297.8 7.25 276.8 13.02 261.5 4.75 259.2 11.81 232.8 9.29 235.7 5.39
148 325.2 5.49 306.5 7.24 297.6 6.60 279.5 1.36 278.8 10.55 250.5 20.27 240.5 7.51 240.4 8.87
180 333.3 8.86 329.6 16.25 316.9 7.14 300.9 6.56 294.4 5.63 288.3 8.06 238.8 6.36 245.9 4.13
T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347 341
Fig. 4. Hardness of steels heat treated at 915

C and air cooled.

Fig. 5. Grain size of steels heat treated at 915

C and air cooled.

Table 6 shows the tensile elongation as a function of tem-
perature andnitrogencontent. Fig. 12is a plot of these elonga-
tion data as a function of temperature for each of the steels.
The tensile elongation is a measure of the steels ductility.
Contrary to the expectation of increasing ductility with in-
creasing temperature, the steels show an initial decrease in
tensile elongation, then as temperature increases it is are fol-
lowedbythe normallyexpectedincreasingtensile elongation.
Table 7 shows the ultimate tensile strength of the steels
as a function of nitrogen content and temperature. A plot of
these data is shown in Fig. 13. As with yield strength, there is
a trend of decreasing UTS with decreasing nitrogen content.
But each of these steels exhibits a local maximum in UTS
at some intermediate temperature, as seen in Fig. 13. This
maximum is most pronounced in the steel with high nitrogen
Tables 8 and 9 show the strain hardening exponent (n)
and the strength coefcient (K) for the basic Holloman equa-
tion for plastic deformation = K
. Figs. 14 and 15 show
these data graphically. In general, both n and Kdecrease with
increasing temperature with some anomalous behavior at in-
termediate temperatures. The strain hardening exponent (n)
shows a reversal in orderingat lower temperatures, the low
nitrogen steels have the highest n values. But the trend is
opposite at higher temperatures, with the high nitrogen steel
having the highest n value. The highest nitrogen (180 ppm)
steel also exhibits a pronounced maximum in its n value at

C. The variation of the strength coefcient as a func-

tion of temperature is similar to the ultimate tensile strength
behaviora general decrease in value with increasing tem-
perature, and with a maximum value at some intermediate
342 T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347
Fig. 6. Stressstrain curves for 1020 steel with 12 ppm N at various temperatures.
Fig. 7. Stressstrain curves for 1020 steel with 95 ppm N at various temperatures.
Fig. 8. Stressstrain curves for 1020 steel with 139 ppm N at various temperatures.
T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347 343
Fig. 9. Stressstrain curves for 1020 steel with 148 ppm N at various temperatures.
Fig. 10. Stressstrain curves for 1020 steel with 180 ppm N at various temperatures.
5. Discussion
From the stressstrain curves for these steels, it is obvious
that at low temperatures discontinuous yielding occurs. At
intermediate temperatures, the stressstrain curves exhibit a
great deal of striations. These striations are consistent with
dynamic strain aging and nitrogen has been shown to cause
dynamic strain aging in steels. At the highest temperatures

C and above), the stressstrain behavior does not dis-

play any discontinuous yielding and the striations in the curve
are not observed, which indicates an absence of dynamic
strain aging behavior at these temperatures.
Table 6
Tensile elongation of steels (in %)
N (ppm) Temperatures (

25 38 93 149 204 260 316 371
12 46.4 0.94 47.5 0.99 48.5 1.57 42.4 2.81 38.7 3.50 44.2 4.63 47.7 5.28 44.9 0.60
95 45.6 2.77 43.8 0.51 44.4 5.28 41.3 8.49 41.0 1.18 41.4 3.68 44.6 1.66 49.5 2.78
139 43.7 3.11 44.9 3.25 40.9 1.58 35.2 2.35 38.4 0.95 34.6 2.68 35.0 2.04 46.5 4.70
148 41.8 4.37 41.8 2.86 38.1 3.41 38.9 2.54 37.3 1.76 33.9 3.74 31.6 4.68 43.1 4.04
180 42.8 1.91 42.0 1.81 38.2 4.25 35.0 4.19 35.5 1.68 35.6 2.28 41.0 4.52 50.8 3.76
Note: uncertainty is 1 S.D.
344 T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347
Table 7
Ultimate tensile strength (in MPa) of steels
N (ppm) Temperatures (

25 38 93 149 204 260 316 371
12 438.4 3.63 422.3 11.26 417.7 2.74 397.2 4.34 402.2 6.72 406.6 11.09 416.9 8.13 409.9 9.21
95 455.8 5.27 446.6 5.18 435.2 5.51 426.6 28.78 403.6 1.89 417.8 3.78 438.2 12.43 417.0 9.57
139 437.1 6.21 427.1 2.30 413.9 5.30 408.3 7.29 433.5 7.56 466.7 5.40 467.3 10.68 460.7 4.37
148 455.6 7.56 440.7 9.19 425.2 2.30 421.6 6.64 468.7 6.70 471.5 10.56 479.2 12.66 483.9 12.59
180 477.9 8.29 468.1 10.12 455.9 9.08 458.4 9.99 539.7 7.33 548.1 16.53 548.5 8.43 486.0 39.78
Note: uncertainty is 1S.D.
Table 8
Strain hardening exponent (n-value) of steels
N (ppm) Temperatures (

25 38 93 149 204 260 316 371
12 0.232 0.006 0.227 0.003 0.221 0.002 0.224 0.005 0.220 0.010 0.216 0.008 0.144 0.006 0.134 0.011
95 0.215 0.003 0.210 0.002 0.204 0.003 0.214 0.010 0.211 0.006 0.191 0.022 0.162 0.010 0.151 0.004
139 0.209 0.011 0.209 0.002 0.203 0.001 0.198 0.045 0.219 0.026 0.204 0.013 0.174 0.025 0.170 0.016
148 0.216 0.004 0.210 0.003 0.205 0.003 0.225 0.002 0.212 0.009 0.205 0.021 0.174 0.009 0.167 0.009
180 0.209 0.002 0.199 0.003 0.202 0.010 0.214 0.009 0.213 0.010 0.242 0.009 0.209 0.044 0.163 0.015
Note: uncertainty is 1S.D.
Table 9
Strength coefcient (in MPa) of steels
N (ppm) Temperatures (

25 38 93 149 204 260 316 371
12 793.8 7.79 754.4 15.92 737.4 7.12 702.5 3.85 714.3 23.38 715.4 14.56 639.2 15.25 616.9 17.05
95 802.6 7.87 777.2 5.95 747.3 6.48 745.3 56.23 700.7 9.78 700.1 26.98 697.5 22.05 649.5 20.93
139 757.8 14.22 740.6 3.09 707.2 7.85 698.7 59.83 793.3 71.26 822.8 30.92 772.6 55.19 749.9 31.78
148 802.9 8.97 767.4 11.87 732.8 5.33 755.4 10.92 836.4 26.05 842.0 59.15 796.5 22.10 786.6 34.47
180 834.1 15.98 799.7 17.23 782.6 13.60 814.9 35.75 962.3 29.00 1066.5 51.54 972.0 87.86 782.8 87.60
Note: uncertainty is 1S.D.
Fig. 11. Yield strength of 1020 steel at various temperatures and various nitrogen contents.
T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347 345
Fig. 12. Tensile ductility of 1020 steel at various temperatures and various nitrogen contents.
Fig. 13. Ultimate tensile strength of 1020 steel at various temperatures and various nitrogen contents.
The anomalous behavior that was exhibited at intermedi-
ate temperatures by the properties of tensile elongation, ulti-
mate tensile strength, strain hardening exponent, and strength
coefcient are all consistent with the temperature regions
where dynamic stain aging occurs.
The implications of this behavior are important to the forg-
ing industry. Cold forgers often purchase and forge low car-
bon steel. During cold forging, the temperature within the
steel increases, due to adiabatic heat of deformation. But,
both the discontinuous yielding behavior and the dynamic
strain aging behavior need to be understood and accounted
for when designing the deformation sequence of a cold forged
component. The presence of nitrogen can be benecial in in-
creasingthe strengthof the part, but the serratedowbehavior
that it causes could be detrimental in producing a high quality
nal forging.
The variations in the plastic properties of the steel (n and K
values) as a function of temperature also have implications to
the forging industry. As more nite element modeling (FEM)
is used to simulate the ow of material during a forging pro-
cess, the correct material properties need to be incorporated
into the simulation so that the results can be used reliably. Al-
though all of the steels in this study meet the specications
for AISI 1020, their plastic behavior has been shown to be
346 T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347
Fig. 14. Strain hardening exponent of 1020 steel at various temperatures and various nitrogen contents.
Fig. 15. Strength coefcient of 1020 steel at various temperatures and various nitrogen contents.
dependent on both the nitrogen content and the temperature.
Both of these factors should be incorporated into simulations
in order to increase the accuracy of these modeling efforts.
6. Conclusions
The role of nitrogen in the mechanical property behavior
of a low carbon steel generally exhibits expected trendsas
nitrogen content increases, the strength of the steel increases,
and the ductility decreases. Likewise, as the temperature in-
creases, the strength of the steel decreases and the ductility
increases. There is an intermediate temperature range, depen-
dent upon the nitrogen content of the steel, where anomalous
behavior is observed with respect to these general trends. Dy-
namic strain aging also occurs in these temperature regions,
and it is believed that these anomalous mechanical property
trends are due to dynamic strain aging.
The authors would like to thank the Timken Co. and espe-
cially John Murza for supplying the steels used in this study.
T.J. Douthit, C.J.V. Tyne / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 160 (2005) 335347 347
They extend their appreciation to Bill Szilva, formerly of
Chaparral Steel Co., who originally conceived the project,
with help from both Amy Bailey and Mike Lindsey. The
authors are also grateful to Wade Lumpkins and Matthew
Ruggerio who helped with experimental measurements. The
project was partially funded by NSF Grant EEC-9712183
and by the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research
Center at Colorado School of Mines.
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