Strengthening mechanisms of creep resistant tempered martensitic steel

K. Maruyama, K. Sawada, J. I. Koike

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

694 Citations (Scopus)


The creep deformation resistance and rupture life of high Cr ferritic steel with a tempered martensitic lath structure are critically reviewed on the basis of experimental data. Special attention is directed to the following three subjects: creep mechanism of the ferritic steel, its alloy design for further strengthening, and loss of its creep rupture strength after long-term use. The high Cr ferritic steel is characterized by its fine subgrain structure with a high density of free dislocations within the subgrains. The dislocation substructure is the most densely distributed obstacle to dislocation motion in the steel. Its recovery controls creep rate and rupture life at elevated temperatures. Improvement of creep strength of the steel requires a fine subgrain structure with a high density of free dislocations. A sufficient number of pinning particles (MX particles in subgrain interior and M23C6 particles on sub-boundaries) are necessary to cancel a large driving force for recovery due to the high dislocation density. Coarsening and agglomeration of the pinning particles have to be delayed by an appropriate alloy design of the steel. Creep rupture strength of the high Cr ferritic steel decreases quickly after long-term use. A significant improvement of creep rupture strength can be achieved if we can prevent the loss of rupture strength. In the steel tempered at high temperature, enhanced recovery of the subgrain structure along grain boundaries is the cause of the premature failure and the consequent loss of rupture strength. However, the scenario is not always applicable. Further studies are needed to solve this important problem of high Cr ferritic steel. MX particles are necessary to retain a fine subgrain structure and to achieve the excellent creep strength of the. high Cr ferritic steel. Strengthening mechanism of the MX particles is another important problem left unsolved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-653
Number of pages13
JournalISIJ International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Alloy design
  • Creep
  • Microstructural degradation
  • Microstructure
  • Steel for elevated temperature service
  • Strengthening mechanism


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