Vanadium as an important alloying element in steels was initially associated with the properties achieved following tempering. Interest in the microstructure was stimulated by the advent of transmission electron microscopes with a resolution of ~1nm together with selected area electron diffraction techniques. A second timely development was that of controlled rolling, particularly of plate and sheet products. The scope of this review will include the historical background on quenched and tempered vanadium steels, precipitation during isothermal aging, conventional controlled rolling and during thin slab direct charging and the development of strength and toughness in vanadium microalloyed steels. The characterisation of microstructure, in particular the methods for the analysis of the chemical composition of precipitates, has progressed since the availability of X-ray energy dispersive analysis in the 1970s, and the role played by electron energy loss spectroscopy in providing quantitative analysis of carbon and nitrogen in vanadium microalloyed steels will be presented. There are still many topics involving vanadium microalloyed steels that are controversial. These include the nucleation sequence of homogeneous precipitates of vanadium carbonitride and whether this occurs coherently, the composition of the vanadium precipitates, the nucleation mechanism for interphase precipitation, the importance of strain induced precipitation in austenite of vanadium carbonitride, the contributions of both interphase precipitation and random precipitation in ferrite to the yield strength, and the role of the process route parameters in developing properties. These topics will be considered in this paper which concentrates on hot rolled vanadium microalloyed steels placed in the context of pertinent research on other alloys.
- microalloy steels