Hierarchical structures in cold-drawn pearlitic steel wire

Xiaodan Zhang, Andrew Godfrey, Niels Hansen, Xiaoxu Huang

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The microstructure and crystallography of drawn pearlitic steel wires have been quantified by a number of electron microscopy techniques including scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction and nanobeam diffraction, with focus on the change in the structure and crystallography when a randomly oriented cementite structure in a patented wire during wire drawing is transformed into a lamellar structure parallel to the drawing axis. Changes in the interlamellar spacing and in the misorientation angle along and across the ferrite lamellae show significant through-diameter variations in wires drawn to large strains P 1.5. The structural evolution is hierarchical as the structural variations have their cause in a different macroscopic orientation of the cementite in the initial (patented) structure with respect to the wire axis. The through-diameter variations subdivide the lamellar structure into two distinctly different types: one (called A_A) has a smaller interlamellar spacing and smaller dislocation density than the other (called A_BC). During drawing, the thickness of the ferrite and cementite lamellae are reduced to 20 and 2 nm, respectively, and high-angle boundaries form in the A_BC structure parallel to the cementite lamellae. The structural and crystallographic analyses suggest that boundary strengthening and dislocation strengthening are important mechanisms in the cold-drawn wire. However, differences in structural parameters between the A_A and the A_BC structure may affect the relative contributions of the two mechanisms to the total flow stress. © 2013 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)4898–4909
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Hierarchical structures
  • Pearlitic steel wire
  • Electron backscatter diffraction
  • Nanobeam diffraction
  • Ferrite crystallographic orientation


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