crystallographic texture; multi-step forming; stainless steel; strain-induced martensite; tensile test
This paper examines the metallurgical evolution of AISI Stainless Steel 321 (SS 321) during multi-step forming, a process that involves cycles of deformation with intermediate heat treatment steps. The multi-step forming process was simulated by implementing interrupted uniaxial tensile testing experiments. Evolution of the mechanical properties as well as the microstructural features, such as twins and textures of the austenite and martensite phases, was studied as a function of the multi-step forming process. The characteristics of the Strain-Induced Martensite (SIM) were also documented for each deformation step and intermediate stress relief heat treatment. The results indicated that the intermediate heat treatments considerably increased the formability of SS 321. Texture analysis showed that the effect of the intermediate heat treatment on the austenite was minor and led to partial recrystallization, while deformation was observed to reinforce the crystallographic texture of austenite. For the SIM, an Olson-Cohen equation type was identified to analytically predict its formation during the multi-step forming process. The generated SIM was textured and weakened with increasing deformation.