The influence of strain rate on the microstructure transition of 304 stainless steel

A. Y. Chen, Haihui Ruan, J. Wang, H. L. Chan, Q. Wang, Q. Li, J. Lu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)


In the top-down approach to tailor the microstructures of materials via plastic deformation, the strain rate plays a significant role. This paper systematically investigates the deformation mechanisms of 304 stainless steel subjected to surface impacts over a wide range of strain rates (10-105s-1). Based on comprehensive analysis of X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy observations, we found that the strain rate between 10 and 103s-1only activated dislocation motions and α′-martensite transformations, resulting in nanocrystallines and ultra-fine grains. However, higher strain rates (104-105s-1) produced a high density of twin bundles with nanoscale thickness in the bulk material. The transition from dislocation-mediated mechanism to twinning-mediated mechanism was interpreted in terms of the magnitude of the applied stress, which was calculated from the explicit finite-element simulation with the use of the Johnson-Cook model. A critical twinning stress, determined from the infinite separation of Shockley partials, renders the transition point. Deformation twinning occurs when the applied stress exceeds this critical twinning stress. Larger stress leads to thinner and denser twin lamellae. Conversely, the stress below the transition point can only induce dislocation motions and α′-martensite transformations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3697-3709
Number of pages13
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • Austenitic stainless steels
  • Deformation twinning
  • Microstructure formation mechanism
  • Phase transformation
  • Strain rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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