Dissemination of IT for the Promotion of Materials Science (DoITPoMS)

DoITPoMS Micrograph Library Micrograph 233 and full record

Micrograph 233 and full record

Link to image file for micrograph 233
Micrograph no
Brief description
Hypoeutectoid steel, normalised at 1100°C
alloy Link to MATTER Glossary entry for alloy, carbon, hypoeutectoid Link to MATTER Glossary entry for hypoeutectoid, iron, metal, pearlite Link to MATTER Glossary entry for pearlite, steel Link to MATTER Glossary entry for steel
Metal or alloy
Fe-C-X   Link to phase diagram
Fe, C 0.4 (wt%)
Standard codes
Normalised 1100°C
Sample preparation
Reflected light microscopy
Length bar
400 μm
Further information
A hypoeutectoid alloy (carbon composition less than eutectoid). The first phase formed upon cooling from the austenite phase field is proeutectoid ferrite. Due to the lower solubility of carbon in ferrite, carbon is partitioned into the remaining austenite. At the eutectoid point the remaining carbon enriched austenite transforms to pearlite (a mixture of ferrite and cementite) which is the darker region of the micrograph. The proportion of pearlite is dependent upon the overall composition.

The ferrite (light areas) is a good example of an allotriomorphic ferrite. This means that its shape does not reflect its internal crystalline symmetry as it nucleates on the austenite grain boundaries and hence follows the shape of the boundaries, the remaining austenite within the ferrite then transforms to pearlite, and is surrounded by the ferrite. The large size of the areas of pearlite arises due to the high normalisation temperature which causes the austenite grains to grow large.
Dr R F Cochrane
Department of Materials, University of Leeds
Licence for re-use
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
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