A combination of X-ray nano-tomography and pencil-beam diffraction tomography was utilized for multimodal assessment of the mechanically induced transformation of individual retained austenite grains during tensile deformation in a 0.1C-5Mn-1Si multi-phase steel. In the present study, a newly developed high energy (20 - 30 keV) and high resolution (spatial resolution of 0.16 µm in this study) X-ray nano-tomography technique was applied for the first time to the in-situ observation of a steel under external loading. The gradual transformation, plastic deformation, and rotation behaviour of the individual austenite grains were clearly observed in 3D. It was revealed that the early stage of the transformation was dominated by the stress-assisted transformation that can be associated with measured mechanical driving force, whilst the overall transformation was dominated by the strain-induced transformation that is interrelated with measured dislocation multiplication. The transformation behaviour of individual grains was classified according to their initial crystallographic orientation and size. Noteworthy was the high stability of coarse austenite grains (i.e., 2.5 μm or larger in diameter), contrary to past reports in the literature. Characteristic rotation behaviour and wide data dispersion were also observed in the case of the individual austenite grains. It was conclusively demonstrated that such characteristic behaviour partly originated from interactions with surrounding soft and hard phases. The origins of these characteristics are discussed by combining the image-based and diffraction-based information.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes