The microstructure and mechanical properties evolution of AISI 301LN metastable austenitic stainless steels during cold rolling were investigated. A wide range of cold thickness reduction (10%-80%) was carried out in a four-high rolling mill at ambient temperature. The X-ray and Feritscope MP30 were used to identify the strain-induced α′-martensite phase and its volume fraction, respectively. The microstructure was observed by optical micrograph and the mechanical properties were determined by tensile tests and microhardness. The results show that the strain-induced α′-martensite nucleated at the shear bands intersections and the growth of α′-martensite occurred by the repeated nucleation of new embryos. The volume fraction of strain-induced α′-martensite increased with increasing the cold rolling reduction. In addition, the percentage increased in the tensile strength is the same as that of hardness. The ratio between the average tensile strength and the average microhardness was found to range between 2.82 and 3.17.
metastable austenitic stainless steel