Effect of Phosphorous Segregation on Fracture Properties of 2.25Cr-1Mo Pressure Vessel Steel

M Islam, Milorad Novovic, Paul Bowen, John Knott

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Phosphorus is a very common trace element that can segregate at prior austenite grain boundaries and/or carbide/matrix interfaces of low alloy steels at high temperature (e.g., order of 500 degreesC) and adversely affect the fracture properties. This paper investigates segregation of P during reversible temper embrittlement (96 h at 520 degreesC) of quenched and fully tempered 2.25Cr-1Mo steel by Auger electron spectroscopy and describes the segregation mechanism. This paper also describes the effect of P segregation on fracture resistance and fracture mode of unembrittled steels, respectively, by fracture toughness testing over a temperature range of -196 degreesC to 20 degreesC and fractography in scanning electron microscopes. During temper embrittlement phosphorus segregation has been attributed due to the mechanism of "carbide rejection". This segregation caused a reduction in fracture toughness values of the quenched and tempered steels at all test temperatures and an increase in the transition temperature. Phosphorus segregation also changed the brittle fracture micromechanism of quenched and fully tempered samples from one of transgranular cleavage to a mixed mode of fracture (transgranular cleavage and intergranular decohesion). The micromechanism of fracture at temperatures from the upper shelf, however, remained almost unchanged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-248
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Materials Engineering and Performance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003


  • transition temperature
  • fracture toughness
  • carbide rejection
  • cleavage
  • intergranular decohesion


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