This work describes the effect of austempering heat treatment on microstrcuture and mechanical properties of SAE 9260 steel. Steel samples, austenitized at 900 °C for one hour, were isothermally heat treated in the temperature range 300,325 and 350 °C for different times. Microstructural characterization was carried out using optical and scanning electron microscopes. The microstructure of the austempered samples consisted of bainitic ferrite and retained austenite. The volume fraction of retained austenite was determined using X-ray diffraction. Isothermal heat treatment at 350 °C for 20 min, resulted in a retained austenite content of around 38% in the microstructure. Increase in isothermal transformation temperature led to an increase in the fraction of retained austenite. Also, good combination of strength and ductility was obtained in the samples with increased amounts of retained austenite.

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