(19)
(11)EP 3 394 299 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 16820260.4

(22)Date of filing:  21.12.2016
(51)Int. Cl.: 
C21D 9/46  (2006.01)
C22C 38/60  (2006.01)
C22C 38/06  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2016/082202
(87)International publication number:
WO 2017/108966 (29.06.2017 Gazette  2017/26)

(54)

METHOD FOR PRODUCING A HIGH STRENGTH STEEL SHEET HAVING IMPROVED STRENGTH AND FORMABILITY, AND OBTAINED HIGH STRENGTH STEEL SHEET

VERFAHREN ZUR HERSTELLUNG EINES HOCHFESTEN STAHLBLECHS MIT VERBESSERTER FESTIGKEIT UND VERFORMBARKEIT UND HERGESTELLTES HOCHFESTES STAHLBLECH

PROCÉDÉ DE PRODUCTION D'UNE TÔLE D'ACIER À HAUTE RÉSISTANCE PRÉSENTANT UNE RÉSISTANCE ET UNE APTITUDE AU FORMAGE AMÉLIORÉES ET TÔLE D'ACIER À HAUTE RÉSISTANCE AINSI OBTENUE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Validation States:
MA

(30)Priority: 21.12.2015 WO PCT/IB2015/059838

(43)Date of publication of application:
31.10.2018 Bulletin 2018/44

(60)Divisional application:
19207907.7 / 3626843

(73)Proprietor: ArcelorMittal
1160 Luxembourg (LU)

(72)Inventors:
  • VENKATASURYA, Pavan
    East Chicago Indiana 46312 (US)
  • JUN, Hyun Jo
    East Chicago Indiana 46312 (US)

(74)Representative: Lavoix 
2, place d'Estienne d'Orves
75441 Paris Cedex 09
75441 Paris Cedex 09 (FR)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 325 346
EP-A1- 2 881 481
JP-A- 2015 224 359
EP-A1- 2 757 171
WO-A1-2016/001708
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to a method for producing a high strength steel sheet having improved strength, ductility and formability and to the sheets obtained with the method.

    [0002] To manufacture various equipments such as parts of body structural members and body panels for automotive vehicles, it is usual to use sheets made of DP (dual phase) steels or TRIP (transformation induced plasticity) steels.

    [0003] For example, such steels which have include a martensitic structure and/or retained austenite and which contains about 0.2% of C, about 2% of Mn, about 1.7% of Si have a yield strength of about 750 MPa, a tensile strength of about 980 MPa, a total elongation of more than 8%. These sheets are produced on continuous annealing line by quenching from an annealing temperature higher than Ac3 transformation point, down to an overaging above Ms transformation point and maintaining the sheet at the temperature for a given time.

    [0004] To reduce the weight of the automotive in order to improve their fuel efficiency in view of the global environmental conservation it is desirable to have sheets having improved yield and tensile strength. But such sheets must also have a good ductility and a good formability and more specifically a good stretch flangeability.

    [0005] In this respect, it is desirable to have sheets having a yield strength YS comprised between 830 MPa and 1100 MPa, preferably at least 850 MPa, a tensile strength TS of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 12%, and preferably of at least 14%, and a hole expansion ratio HER according to ISO standard 16630:2009 of more than 30%. It must be emphasized that, due to differences in the methods of measure, the values of hole expansion ration HER according to the ISO standard are very different and not comparable to the values of the hole expansion ratio λ according to the JFS T 1001 (Japan Iron and Steel Federation standard). The tensile strength TS and the total elongation TE are measured according to ISO standard ISO 6892-1, published in October 2009. Due to differences in the methods of measurement, in particular due to differences in the geometry of the specimen used, the values of the total elongation TE measured according to the ISO standard are very different, in particular lower, than the values of the total elongation measured according to the JIS Z 2201-05 standard.

    [0006] EP2325346A1 disclosed a high-strength steel sheet having good ductility and stretch-flangeability and having a tensile strength (TS) of 980 MPa or more.

    [0007] WO2016001708A1 (prior art pursuant Art 54(3) EPC) disclosed a method for producing a high strength coated steel sheet having an improved ductility and an improved formability.

    [0008] Therefore, the purpose of the present invention is to provide such a sheet and a method to produce it.

    [0009] For this purpose, the invention relates to a method for producing a steel sheet having a microstructure consisting of between 71% and 91% of the sum of martensite and bainite, between 9% and 13% of retained austenite, and at most 20% of ferrite, the method comprising the following successive steps:
    • providing a cold-rolled steel sheet, the chemical composition of the steel containing in weight %:

      0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
      1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

      0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
      with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

      2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

      Ti ≤ 0.05 %

      Nb ≤ 0.05 %

      the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,
    • annealing the steel sheet at an annealing temperature TA so as to obtain a structure comprising from 80% to 100% of austenite and from 0% to 20% of ferrite,
    • quenching the sheet at a cooling rate comprised between 20°C/s and 50°C/s down to a quenching temperature QT between 240°C and 310°C,
    • heating the sheet up to a partitioning temperature PT between 400°C and 465°C and maintaining the sheet at this temperature for a partitioning time Pt between 50 s and 250 s,
    • immediately cooling the sheet down to the room temperature.


    [0010] Preferably, the step of providing the cold-rolled steel sheet comprises:
    • hot rolling a sheet made of said steel to obtain a hot rolled steel sheet,
    • coiling said hot-rolled steel sheet at a temperature Tc comprised between 500°C and 730°C,
    • cold rolling said hot-rolled steel sheet to obtain said cold-rolled steel sheet.


    [0011] According to a particular embodiment, the step of providing said cold-rolled steel sheet further comprises, between the coiling and the cold-rolling, performing a batch annealing at a temperature comprised between 500°C and 650°C for a time between 300 seconds and 12 hours.

    [0012] According to another particular embodiment, the step of providing said cold-rolled steel sheet further comprises, between the coiling and the cold-rolling, performing a slow cooling of the hot-rolled steel sheet from the coiling temperature to room temperature for a time comprised between 5 and 7 days.

    [0013] Preferably, the quenched sheet has, just before the heating to the partitioning temperature PT, a structure consisting of between 10 and 40% of austenite, between 60% and 90% of martensite, and between 0% and 20% of ferrite.

    [0014] According to a particular embodiment, the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 240°C and 270°C, and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 440°C and 460°C.

    [0015] According to another particular embodiment, the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 290°C and 320°C, and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 400°C and 425°C.

    [0016] Preferably, the chemical composition of the steel satisfies at least one of the following conditions: C ≥ 0.16%, C ≤ 0.20%, Si ≥ 2.0%, Si ≤ 2.2 %, Mn ≥ 2.6%, Mn ≤ 2.8%.

    [0017] Preferably, after the sheet is quenched to the quenching temperature QT and before the sheet is heated to the partitioning temperature PT, the sheet is held at the quenching temperature QT for a holding time comprised between 2 s and 8 s, preferably between 3 s and 7s.

    [0018] Preferably, the partitioning time Pt is between 50 and 200 s.

    [0019] Especially, the invention relates to a method for producing a steel sheet having a microstructure consisting of between 71% and 91% of the sum of martensite and bainite, between 9% and 13% of retained austenite, and at most 20% of ferrite, wherein the method comprises the following successive steps:
    • providing a cold-rolled steel sheet, the chemical composition of the steel containing in weight %:

      0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
      1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

      0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
      with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

      2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

      Ti < 0.05 %

      Nb < 0.05 %

      the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,
    • annealing the steel sheet at an annealing temperature TA so as to obtain a structure comprising from 80% to 100% of austenite and from 0% to 20% of ferrite,
    • quenching the sheet at a cooling rate comprised between 20°C/s and 50°C/s down to a quenching temperature QT between 240°C and 270°C,
    • heating the sheet up to a partitioning temperature PT between 440°C and 460°C and maintaining the sheet at the partitioning temperature PT for a partitioning time Pt between 50 s and 250 s,
    • immediately cooling the sheet down to the room temperature.


    [0020] The invention also relates to a method for producing a steel sheet having a microstructure consisting of between 71% and 91% of the sum of martensite and bainite, between 9% and 13% of retained austenite, and at most 20% of ferrite, wherein the method comprises the following successive steps:
    • providing a cold-rolled steel sheet, the chemical composition of the steel containing in weight %:

      0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
      1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

      0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
      with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

      2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

      Ti < 0.05 %

      Nb < 0.05 %

      the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,
    • annealing the steel sheet at an annealing temperature TA so as to obtain a structure comprising from 80% to 100% of austenite and from 0% to 20% of ferrite,
    • quenching the sheet at a cooling rate comprised between 20°C/s and 50°C/s down to a quenching temperature QT between 290°C and 320°C,
    • heating the sheet up to a partitioning temperature PT between 400°C and 425°C and maintaining the sheet at the partitioning temperature PT for a partitioning time Pt between 50 s and 250 s,
    immediately cooling the sheet down to the room temperature.

    [0021] The invention also relates to a steel sheet, wherein the chemical composition of the steel contains in weight %:

    0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
    1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

    0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
    with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

    2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0.05 %

    Nb ≤ 0.05 %

    the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,
    having a microstructure consisting of, in surface percentage:
    • between 71% and 91% of martensite and bainite,
    • between 9% and 13% of retained austenite,
    • at most 20% of ferrite,
    the sheet having a yield strength comprised between 850 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 12% and a hole expansion ratio HER of at least 30%.

    [0022] According to a particular embodiment, the total elongation TE is at least 14%, and/or the hole expansion ratio HER is greater than 40%.

    [0023] The chemical composition of the steel can, optionally, satisfy at least one of the following conditions: C ≥ 0.16 %, C ≤ 0.20 %, Si ≥ 2.0 %, Si ≤ 2.2 %, Mn ≥ 2.6 % and Mn ≤ 2.8%.

    [0024] Preferably, the C content CRA% in the retained austenite is comprised between 0.9% and 1.2%.

    [0025] According to a particular embodiment, the retained austenite comprises blocky retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 2 and 4 and film-type retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 5 and 8.

    [0026] Preferably, the microstructure comprises between 5.5% and 10.5% of film-type retained austenite.

    [0027] According to an embodiment, the sheet is coated with a metallic coating fabricated by electroplating or vacuum deposition process.

    [0028] Especially, the invention relates to a steel sheet, wherein the chemical composition of the steel contains in weight %:

    0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
    1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

    0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
    with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

    2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti < 0.05 %

    Nb < 0.05 %

    the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,
    having a microstructure consisting of, in surface percentage:
    • between 71% and 91% of martensite and bainite,
    • between 9% and 13% of retained austenite,
    • at most 20% of ferrite,
    wherein the retained austenite comprises blocky retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 2 and 4 and film-type retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 5 and 8,
    the sheet having a yield strength comprised between 850 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 14% and a hole expansion ratio HER of at least 30%.

    [0029] The invention will now be described in details but without introducing limitations.

    [0030] The composition of the steel according to the invention comprises, in weight percent:
    • 0.13 to 0.22% of carbon for ensuring a satisfactory strength and improving the stability of the retained austenite which is necessary to obtain a sufficient elongation. Preferably, the carbon content is higher than or equal to 0.16%, and preferably lower than or equal to 0.20%. If the carbon content is too high, the hot rolled sheet is too hard to cold roll and the weldability is insufficient. If the carbon content is below 0.13 %, yield and tensile strength levels will not reach respectively 850 and 1180 MPa.
    • 2.4% to 3% and preferably more than 2.6% and preferably less than 2.8% of manganese. The minimum is defined to have a sufficient hardenability in order to obtain a microstructure containing at least 71% of martensite and bainite, and a tensile strength of more than 1180 MPa. The maximum is defined to avoid having segregation issues which are detrimental for the ductility.
    • 1.2% to 2.3% of silicon in order to stabilize the austenite, to provide a solid solution strengthening and to delay the formation of carbides during overaging without formation of silicon oxides at the surface of the sheet which would be detrimental to coatability. Preferably, the silicon content is higher than or equal to 1.9%, still preferably higher than or equal to 2.0%. An increased amount of silicon improves the hole expansion ratio. Preferably, the silicon content is lower than or equal to 2.2%. A silicon content above 2.3% would lead to formation of silicon oxides at the surface.
    • 0.02% to 1.0% of aluminum. Aluminum is added to deoxidize the liquid steel and it increases the robustness of the manufacturing method, in particular reduces the variations of the austenite fraction when the annealing temperature varies. The maximum aluminum content is defined to prevent an increase of the Ac3 transformation point to a temperature which would render the annealing more difficult. Aluminum, as silicon, delays the formation of carbides during carbon redistribution from martensite to austenite resulting from the overaging. To delay the formation of carbides the minimum content of Al+Si should be 1.25%. The maximum content of Al+Si should be 2.35%.


    [0031] The balance is iron and residual elements resulting from the steelmaking. In this respect, Ni, Cr, Mo, Cu, Nb, Ti, V, B, S, P and N at least are considered as residual elements which are unavoidable impurities. Therefore, their contents are less than 0.05% for Ni, 0.05% for Cr, 0.02% for Mo, 0.03% for Cu, 0.007% for V, 0.0010% for B, 0.005% for S, 0.02% for P and 0.010% for N. The Nb content is limited to 0.05% and the Ti content is limited to 0.05% because above such values, large precipitates would form and the formability of the steel would decrease, making the 12% target for the total elongation more difficult to reach.

    [0032] Hot rolled sheet having a thickness between 2 and 5 mm can be produced in a known manner from this steel. As an example, the reheating temperature before rolling can be between 1200°C and 1280°C, preferably about 1250°C, the finish rolling temperature is preferably less than 850°C, the start cooling temperature less than 800°C, the stop cooling temperature between 570°C and 590°C and the coiling is performed at a temperature preferably comprised between 500°C and 730°C.

    [0033] After hot rolling, the sheet is heat treated in order to reduce the strain in the steel and therefore improve the cold-rollability of the hot-rolled and coiled steel sheet.

    [0034] According to a first embodiment, this heat-treatment is a batch annealing. In this embodiment, the hot-rolled and coiled steel sheet is batch annealed at a temperature between 500°C and 650°C for a time between 300 seconds and 12 hours, preferably for 4 hours to 12 hours.

    [0035] According to a second embodiment, the heat-treatment is a slow cooling from the coiling temperature to the room temperature, at a cooling rate such that the sheet is cooled from the coiling temperature to the room temperature in a cooling time comprised between 5 and 7 days.

    [0036] The hot rolled sheet can be pickled and cold rolled to obtain a cold rolled sheet having a thickness between 0.5 mm and 2.5 mm.

    [0037] Then, the sheet is heat treated on a continuous annealing line.

    [0038] The heat treatment comprises the steps of:
    • annealing the sheet at an annealing temperature TA such that, at the end of the annealing step, the steel has a structure comprising at least 80% of austenite, preferably at least 95%, and up to 100%. One skilled in the art knows how to determine the annealing temperature TA from dilatometry tests. Preferably, the annealing temperature TA is of at most Ac3 + 50°C, in order to limit the coarsening of the austenitic grains. Still preferably, the annealing temperature TA is of at most Ac3. Ac3 designates the temperature of start and the end of the transformation into austenite during the heating step. The sheet is maintained at the annealing temperature, i.e. maintained between TA - 5°C and TA + 10°C, for an annealing time tA sufficient to homogenize the chemical composition. This annealing time tA is preferably of more than 60 s but does not need to be of more than 300 s.
    • quenching the sheet down to a quenching temperature QT lower than the Ms transformation point of the austenite, at a cooling rate fast enough to avoid the formation of new ferrite and bainite. The cooling rate is comprised between 20°C/s and 50°C/s. Indeed, a cooling rate lower than 20°C/s would lead to the formation of ferrite and would not allow obtaining a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa. The quenching temperature is between 240°C and 320°C in order to have a structure containing between 10 and 40% of austenite, between 60% and 90% of martensite and between 0% and 20% of ferrite, at that temperature QT just after cooling. If the quenching temperature QT is lower than 240°C, the fraction of the partitioned martensite in the final structure is too high to stabilize a sufficient amount of retained austenite above 9%, so that the total elongation does not reach 12%. Moreover, if the quenching temperature QT is higher than 320°C, the fraction of partitioned martensite is too low to obtain the desired tensile and yield strengths.
    • optionally holding the quenched sheet at the quenching temperature for a holding time comprised between 2 s and 8 s, preferably between 3 s and 7 s.
    • reheating the sheet from the quenching temperature up to a partitioning temperature PT between 400°C and 465°C. The reheating rate can be high when the reheating is made by induction heater. If the partitioning temperature PT is lower than 400°C, the elongation is not satisfactory.
    • maintaining the sheet at the partitioning temperature PT for a time between 50 s and 250 s.
    • immediately after this maintaining step, cooling the sheet to the room temperature, at a cooling speed preferably higher than 1°C/s, for example between 2°C/s and 20°C/s.


    [0039] In addition, when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 240°C and 270°C, the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 440°C and 460°C. This first embodiment allows reaching the aimed mechanical properties for a given composition over a very wide range of annealing and partitioning times, and therefore is very stable when the line speed is varied. In particular, this first embodiment provides a heavy tempering of the martensite, which results in high values of the yield strength and of the hole expansion ratio.

    [0040] If the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 290°C and 320°C, the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 390°C and 425°C. This second embodiment allows obtaining the aimed mechanical properties over a wide range of annealing and partitioning times.

    [0041] In addition, these two embodiments allow achieving a total elongation of at least 14%, as described in further details herebelow.

    [0042] This treatment allows obtaining a final structure i.e. after partitioning and cooling to the room temperature, consisting of:
    • retained austenite, with a surface percentage comprised between 9 % and 13%,
    • martensite and bainite, with a surface percentage between 71% and 91%, preferably between 82 % and 91%,
    • at most 20% of ferrite, preferably at most 5%.


    [0043] A fraction of retained austenite of at least 9% allows obtaining a total elongation of at least 12%, and a fraction of martensite and bainite of at least 71% allows obtaining a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa.

    [0044] The retained austenite may comprise blocky retained austenite and film-type retained austenite, located between martensite laths.

    [0045] The blocky type retained austenite has an average aspect ratio comprised between 2 and 4. The film-type retained austenite has an average aspect ratio comprised between 5 and 8.

    [0046] The aspect ratios of each of the blocky-type and film-type retained austenite is determined on the final sheet by etching with Klemm agent, then observing at least 10 micrographs with a magnification of 500 and performing image analysis of the micrographs for the identification of N constituents (i) of retained austenite. The maximal (lmax)i and minimal (lmin)i sizes of each constituent (i) are determined, and the aspect ratio of each individual constituent (i) is calculated as (Imax)i/(Imin)i, in the total population of N constituents. The average aspect ratio is calculated as the arithmetical mean value of the N individual values of (Imax)i/(Imin)i.

    [0047] Preferably, the microstructure comprises between 5.5% and 10.5% of film-type retained austenite, and at most 7.5% of blocky-type austenite. Film-type retained austenite is more stable than blocky-austenite, and does not quickly transform to martensite during deformation.

    [0048] These features are especially obtained when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 240°C and 270°C and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 440°C and 460°C, or when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 290°C and 320°C, and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 390°C and 425°C.

    [0049] These features make it possible to obtain a total elongation TE of at least 14%, in combination with a yield strength YS comprised between 850 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa and a hole expansion ratio HER according to the ISO standard 16630:2009 of at least 30%.

    [0050] Moreover, the average size of the blocks of bainite or martensite is preferably of 10 µm or less.

    [0051] Furthermore, this treatment allows obtaining an increased C content in the retained austenite, which is of at least 0.9%, preferably even of at least 1.0%, and up to 1.2%.

    [0052] With such treatment, sheets having a yield strength YS comprised between 850 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 12% and a hole expansion ratio HER according to the ISO standard 16630:2009 of at least 30% can be obtained.

    [0053] Furthermore, when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 240°C and 270°C and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 440°C and 460°C, or when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 290°C and 320°C and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 390°C and 425°C, sheets having a yield strength YS comprised between 850 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 14% and a hole expansion ratio HER according to the ISO standard 16630:2009 of at least 30% are obtained.

    [0054] The steel sheets thus obtained can be used as uncoated sheets or can be coated with a metallic coating such as zinc or zinc alloy, produced by electroplating or vacuum deposition.

    Examples:



    [0055] Sheets made of a steel having a composition comprising 0.163% of C, 2.05% of Si, 2.7% of Mn, and 0.02% of Al, the remainder being Fe and impurities, were produced by hot rolling, followed by coiling at 730°C. The hot rolled sheets were batch annealed at 650°C for 10 hours, then pickled and cold rolled to obtain sheets having a thickness of 1.6 mm. The Ac1, Ac3 and Ms points of the steel were determined by dilatometry tests, as being Ac1=780°C, Ac3=900°C and Ms=330°C.

    [0056] Several sheets were heat treated by annealing at a temperature TA for a time tA, quenching at a temperature QT at a cooling rate of 45°C/s, reheated to a partitioning temperature PT and maintained at the partitioning PT for a partitioning time Pt, then immediately cooled to room temperature.

    [0057] In the tables below, TA is the annealing temperature, tA is the annealing time, QT the quenching temperature, PT the partitioning temperature, Pt the maintaining time at the partitioning temperature, YS the yield strength, TS the tensile strength, UE the uniform elongation, TE the total elongation and HER the hole expansion ratio measured according to the ISO standard. RA is the fraction of retained austenite in the microstructure, and CRA% is the C content in the retained austenite. The column "Blocky and film-type RA?" indicates whether the structure comprises blocky and film type retained austenite.

    [0058] All examples are related to uncoated sheets.

    [0059] The heat treatment conditions and the obtained properties are reported in table I.

    [0060] The values underlined are not according to the invention.
    Table I
    ExampleTA (°C)tA (s)QT (°C)PT (°C)Pt (s)YS (MPa)TS (MPa)UE (%)TE (%)HER (%)RA (%)Blocky and film-type RA?CRA%
    1 880 120 225 400 100 1115 1283 3.2 3.9 40 7.2 No 1.27
    2 120 275 1096 1286 8.2 12.8 39 9.1 No 1.03
    3 120 300 833 1268 10 14.5 38 10.8 Yes 1.02
    4 120 325 900 1280 9.9 14.5 28 10.1 No 1.01
    5 120 300 400 100 833 1268 10 14.5 38 10.8 Yes 1.02
    6 120 425 1002 1245 10.5 15.4 30 12 Yes 0.97
    7 120 475 921 1227 10.8 14.6 29 11.7 No 0.94
    8 100 250 460 50 1095 1220 10 15.5 nd nd Yes nd
    9 100 80 1095 1220 9 14 nd nd Yes nd
    10 100 150 1095 1220 9.5 15.3 nd nd Yes nd
    11 100 200 1080 1220 10 15 nd nd Yes nd


    [0061] Examples 1 to 4 show that only a quenching temperature between 240°C and 320°C allows obtaining a yield strength between 830 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 12% and a hole expansion ratio of at least 30%.

    [0062] The comparison of examples 5 to 7 shows that only a partitioning temperature PT comprised between 400°C and 465°C allows obtaining a yield strength between 830 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 12% and a hole expansion ratio of at least 30%, whereas a partitioning temperature PT above 465°C leads to the formation of a high fraction of fresh martensite, which leads to a hole expansion ratio below 30%.

    [0063] These examples 1 to 7 further show that when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 290°C and 320°C and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 400°C and 425°C, a total elongation of more than 14% can be reached. By contrast, example 2, quenched at a temperature of 275°C, does not reach a total elongation of 14%.

    [0064] Examples 8 to 11 show that the targeted properties can be obtained over a wide range of partitioning times, and more specifically that the mechanical properties obtained are very stable when the partitioning time is changed.

    [0065] Among examples 1-11, only examples 3, 5, 6 and 8-11 comprise blocky retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 2 and 4 and film-type retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 5 and 8. The surface fraction of film-type retained austenite, with respect to the whole microstructure, is comprised between 5.5% and 10.5% for examples 3, 5, 6 and 8-11. By contrast, examples 1, 2, 4 and 7 comprise only blocky retained austenite.

    [0066] These examples further show that when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 240°C and 270°C, and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 440°C and 460°C, a total elongation of at least 14% is obtained.

    [0067] In addition, these examples show that when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 240°C and 270°C, and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 440°C and 460°C, very high values of yield strength can be obtained. These high values are due to an important tempering of the martensite, owing to the low value of the quenching temperature QT and to the high value of the partitioning temperature PT.

    [0068] Further tests were performed to study the influence of the line speed on the mechanical properties of the sheet during the manufacture, i.e. the stability of these mechanical properties with variations of the line speed.

    [0069] These tests were performed on a line having a minimum line speed of 50 m/min and a maximum line speed of 120 m/min, with soaking and partitioning sections configured so that the maximum soaking time and partitioning time, reached with the minimum line speed, are respectively of 188 s and 433 s. the minimum soaking time and partitioning time, reached with the maximum line speed, are respectively 79 s and 181 s.

    [0070] The tests were performed using the minimum and the maximum line speeds, with a quenching temperature QT of 250°C and a partitioning temperature PT of 450°C, or a quenching temperature QT of 300°C and a partitioning temperature PT of 400°C.

    [0071] The heat treatment conditions and the obtained properties are reported in table II.
    Table II
    ExampleTA (°C)tA (s)QT (°C)PT (°C)Pt (s)YS (MPa)TS (MPa)UE (%)TE (%)HER (%)
    12 870 80 250 450 181 974 1205 10.2 14.9 50
    13 188 250 450 433 903 1212 10.9 16.2 46
    14 80 300 400 181 883 1231 10.5 15.2 37
    15 188 300 400 433 794 1220 10.3 14.6 31


    [0072] These results show that with a quenching temperature QT of 250°C and a partitioning temperature PT of 450°C, the line speed has little influence on the quality of the mechanical properties obtained, so that the targeted properties can be obtained throughout the whole range of line speeds. These results also show that the manufacturing process is very robust with regard to variations of the line speed.

    [0073] The results obtained with a quenching temperature QT of 300°C and a partitioning temperature PT of 400°C are similar, even if the yield strength is slightly lower than the targeted value of 850 MPa when the line speed is too slow and the partitioning temperature consequently longer than 250 s.

    [0074] These results further show that when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 290°C and 320°C and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 400°C and 425°C, or when the quenching temperature QT is comprised between 240°C and 270°C, and the partitioning temperature PT is comprised between 440°C and 460°C, a total elongation of more than 14% can be reached.

    [0075] Tests were further performed to assess the effect of the heat-treatment performed between the coiling and the cold-rolling steps.

    [0076] The tests were performed with a heat-treatment comprises batch annealing at a temperature of 650°C (Heat-treatment 1), or with a heat-treatment comprising slow cooling of the hot-rolled steel sheet from the coiling temperature to room temperature for a time of 7 days (Heat-treatment 2).

    [0077] Tests 16 to 19 in Table III below were performed with a quenching temperature QT of 250°C and a partitioning temperature PT of 460°C, the partitioning time being either 150 s (examples 16 and 17) or 200 s (examples 18 and 19).

    [0078] Tests 20 to 23 in Table III were performed with a quenching temperature QT of 300°C and a partitioning temperature PT of 400°C, the partitioning time being either 150 s (examples 20 and 21) or 200 s (examples 22 and 23).
    ExampleHeat-treatmentTA (°C)tA (s)QT (°C)PT (°C)Pt (s)YS (MPa)TS (MPa)UE (%)TE (%)HER (%)
    16 1 880 100 250 460 150 1095 1222 9.5 15.8 71
    17 2 100 250 460 150 1064 1216 10.3 15.1 56
    18 1 100 250 460 200 1048 1223 10.1 14.3 67
    19 2 100 250 460 200 1065 1231 10.5 16.3 52
    20 1 100 300 400 150 1044 1255 9.1 14.3 54
    21 2 100 300 400 150 1033 1258 9.7 14.9 36
    22 1 100 300 400 200 1038 1251 10.2 14.5 52
    23 2 100 300 400 200 1062 1253 9.1 14.0 30


    [0079] Examples 16-23 comprise blocky retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 2 and 4 and film-type retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 5 and 8, the surface fraction of film-type retained austenite, with respect to the whole microstructure, being comprised between 5.5% and 10.5%.

    [0080] These tests show that the targeted mechanical properties are obtained by a process according to the invention if the heat-treatment performed between the coiling and the cold-rolling steps is a batch annealing or a slow cooling.

    [0081] These tests further confirm that a quenching temperature QT comprised between 240°C and 270°C and a partitioning temperature PT comprised between 440°C and 460°, or a quenching temperature QT comprised between 290°C and 320°C, and a partitioning temperature PT comprised between 400°C and 425°C, allow obtaining very satisfactory mechanical properties, in particular a total elongation of more than 14%.

    [0082] Tests were also performed to determine the minimum cooling rate for the quenching to the quenching temperature QT.

    [0083] The heat treatment conditions and the obtained properties are reported in table IV.

    [0084] In this table, CR designates the cooling rate.
    Table IV
    ExampleTA (°C)tA (s)CR (°C/s)QT (°C)PT (°C)Pt(s)YS (MPa)TS (MPa)UE (%)TE (%)HER (%)
    24 880 100 16 250 460 150 895 1173 11.2 15.7 38
    25 100 20 250 460 150 908 1195 10.4 15.2 31
    26 100 30 250 460 150 897 1202 11.3 16.1 34
    27 100 50 250 460 433 1089 1221 9.8 14.8 51


    [0085] These results show that when the cooling rate is below 20°C/s, a tensile strength of less than 1180 MPa is obtained, whereas the mechanical properties are satisfactory when the cooling rate is comprised between 20°C/s and 50°C/s.


    Claims

    1. A method for producing a steel sheet having a microstructure consisting of between 71% and 91% of the sum of martensite and bainite, between 9% and 13% of retained austenite, and at most 20% of ferrite, wherein the method comprises the following successive steps:

    - providing a cold-rolled steel sheet, the chemical composition of the steel containing in weight %:

    0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
    1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

    0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
    with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

    2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0.05 %

    Nb ≤ 0.05 %

    the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,

    - annealing the steel sheet at an annealing temperature TA so as to obtain a structure comprising from 80% to 100% of austenite and from 0% to 20% of ferrite,

    - quenching the sheet at a cooling rate comprised between 20°C/s and 50°C/s down to a quenching temperature QT between 240°C and 270°C,

    - heating the sheet up to a partitioning temperature PT between 440°C and 460°C and maintaining the sheet at the partitioning temperature PT for a partitioning time Pt between 50 s and 250 s,

    - immediately after the maintaining step, cooling the sheet down to the room temperature.


     
    2. A method for producing a steel sheet having a microstructure consisting of between 71% and 91% of the sum of martensite and bainite, between 9% and 13% of retained austenite, and at most 20% of ferrite, wherein the method comprises the following successive steps:

    - providing a cold-rolled steel sheet, the chemical composition of the steel containing in weight %:

    0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
    1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

    0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
    with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

    2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0.05 %

    Nb ≤ 0.05 %

    the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,

    - annealing the steel sheet at an annealing temperature TA so as to obtain a structure comprising from 80% to 100% of austenite and from 0% to 20% of ferrite,

    - quenching the sheet at a cooling rate comprised between 20°C/s and 50°C/s down to a quenching temperature QT between 290°C and 320°C,

    - heating the sheet up to a partitioning temperature PT between 400°C and 425°C and maintaining the sheet at the partitioning temperature PT for a partitioning time Pt between 50 s and 250 s,

    - immediately cooling the sheet down to the room temperature.


     
    3. The method according to any one of claims 1 or 2, wherein the step of providing said cold-rolled steel sheet comprises:

    - hot rolling a sheet made of said steel to obtain a hot rolled steel sheet,

    - coiling said hot-rolled steel sheet at a temperature Tc comprised between 500°C and 730°C,

    - cold rolling said hot-rolled steel sheet to obtain said cold-rolled steel sheet.


     
    4. The method according to claim 3, wherein the step of providing said cold-rolled steel sheet further comprises, between the coiling and the cold-rolling, performing a batch annealing at a temperature comprised between 500°C and 650°C for a time between 300 seconds and 12 hours.
     
    5. The method according to claim 3, wherein the step of providing said cold-rolled steel sheet further comprises, between the coiling and the cold-rolling, performing a slow cooling of the hot-rolled steel sheet from the coiling temperature to room temperature for a time comprised between 5 and 7 days.
     
    6. The method according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the quenched sheet has, just before the heating to the partitioning temperature PT, a structure consisting of between 10 and 40% of austenite, between 60% and 90% of martensite and between 0% and 20% of ferrite.
     
    7. The method according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the chemical composition of the steel satisfies at least one of the following conditions:

    C ≥ 0.16 %,

    C ≤ 0.20%,

    Si ≥ 2.0 %,

    Si ≤ 2.2 %,

    Mn ≥ 2.6 %,
    and

    Mn ≤ 2.8%.


     
    8. The method according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein, after the sheet is quenched to the quenching temperature QT and before the sheet is heated to the partitioning temperature PT, the sheet is held at the quenching temperature QT for a holding time comprised between 2 s and 8 s, preferably between 3 s and 7s.
     
    9. The method according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the partitioning time Pt is between 50 and 200 s.
     
    10. The method according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the retained austenite comprises blocky retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 2 and 4 and film-type retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 5 and 8.
     
    11. The method according to claim 10, wherein the microstructure comprises between 5.5% and 10.5% of film-type retained austenite.
     
    12. An uncoated steel sheet wherein the chemical composition of the steel contains in weight %:

    0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
    1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

    0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
    with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

    2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0.05 %

    Nb ≤ 0.05 %

    the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,
    having a microstructure consisting of, in surface percentage:

    - between 71% and 91% of martensite and bainite,

    - between 9% and 13% of retained austenite,

    - at most 20% of ferrite,

    wherein the retained austenite comprises blocky retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 2 and 4 and film-type retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 5 and 8,
    the sheet having a yield strength comprised between 850 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 14% and a hole expansion ratio HER of at least 30%.
     
    13. The steel sheet according to claim 12, wherein the hole expansion ratio HER is greater than 40%.
     
    14. The steel sheet according to any one of claims 12 or 13, wherein the chemical composition of the steel satisfies at least one of the following conditions:

    C ≥ 0.16 %,

    C ≤ 0.20 %,

    Si ≥ 2.0 %,

    Si ≤ 2.2 %,

    Mn ≥ 2.6 %,
    and

    Mn ≤ 2.8%.


     
    15. The steel sheet according to any one of claims 12 to 14, wherein the C content CRA% in the retained austenite, is comprised between 0.9% and 1.2%.
     
    16. The steel sheet according to anyone of claims 12 to 15, wherein the microstructure comprises between 5.5% and 10.5% of film-type retained austenite.
     
    17. A steel sheet wherein the chemical composition of the steel contains in weight %:

    0.13% ≤ C ≤ 0.22%
    1.2% ≤ Si ≤ 2.3%

    0.02% ≤ Al ≤ 1.0%,
    with 1.25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2.35%,

    2.4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0.05 %

    Nb ≤ 0.05 %

    the remainder being Fe and unavoidable impurities,
    having a microstructure consisting of, in surface percentage:

    - between 71% and 91 % of martensite and bainite,

    - between 9% and 13% of retained austenite,

    - at most 20% of ferrite,

    wherein the retained austenite comprises blocky retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 2 and 4 and film-type retained austenite having an aspect ratio comprised between 5 and 8,
    the sheet having a yield strength comprised between 850 and 1100 MPa, a tensile strength of at least 1180 MPa, a total elongation of at least 14% and a hole expansion ratio HER of at least 30,
    the sheet being coated with a metallic coating fabricated by electroplating or vacuum deposition process.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines Stahlblechs mit einem Gefüge, das zu 71 - 91 % aus der Summe von Martensit und Bainit, zu zwischen 9 und 13 % aus Restaustenit und zu höchstens 20 % aus Ferrit besteht, wobei das Verfahren folgende aufeinanderfolgende Schritte umfasst:

    - Vorsehen eines kaltgewalzten Stahlblechs, wobei die chemische Zusammensetzung des Stahls in Gew.-% enthält:

    0,13% ≤ C ≤ 0,22%
    1,2% ≤ Si ≤ 2,3%

    0,02 % ≤ Al ≤ 1,0 %,
    mit 1,25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2,35%,

    2,4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0,05 %

    Nb ≤ 0,05 %

    und im Übrigen Fe und unvermeidliche Fremdstoffe,

    - Glühen des Stahlblechs bei einer Glühtemperatur TA, um ein Gefüge zu erhalten, das zu 80 - 100 % Austenit und zu 0 - 20 % Ferrit umfasst,

    - Abschrecken des Blechs bei einer Abkühlgeschwindigkeit zwischen 20 und 50 °C/s auf eine Abschreckungstemperatur QT zwischen 240 und 270 °C,

    - Heizen des Blechs auf eine Aufteilungstemperatur PT zwischen 440 und 460 °C und Halten des Blechs bei der Aufteilungstemperatur PT für eine Aufteilungszeit Pt zwischen 50 und 250 s,

    - Abkühlen des Blechs auf Raumtemperatur unmittelbar nach dem Schritt des Haltens.


     
    2. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines Stahlblechs mit einem Gefüge, das zu 71 - 91 % aus der Summe von Martensit und Bainit, zu zwischen 9 und 13 % aus Restaustenit und zu höchstens 20 % aus Ferrit besteht, wobei das Verfahren folgende aufeinanderfolgende Schritte umfasst:

    - Vorsehen eines kaltgewalzten Stahlblechs, wobei die chemische Zusammensetzung des Stahls in Gew.-% enthält:

    0,13% ≤ C ≤ 0,22%
    1,2% ≤ Si ≤ 2,3%

    0,02 % ≤ Al ≤ 1,0 %,
    mit 1,25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2,35%,

    2,4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0,05 %

    Nb ≤ 0,05 %

    und im Übrigen Fe und unvermeidliche Fremdstoffe,

    - Glühen des Stahlblechs bei einer Glühtemperatur TA, um ein Gefüge zu erhalten, das zu 80 - 100 % Austenit und zu 0 - 20 % Ferrit umfasst,

    - Abschrecken des Blechs bei einer Abkühlgeschwindigkeit zwischen 20 und 50 °C/s auf eine Abschreckungstemperatur QT zwischen 290 und 320°C,

    - Heizen des Blechs auf eine Aufteilungstemperatur PT zwischen 400 und 425°C und Halten des Blechs bei der Aufteilungstemperatur PT für eine Aufteilungszeit Pt zwischen 50 und 250 s,

    - sofortiges Abkühlen des Blechs auf Raumtemperatur.


     
    3. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 oder 2, wobei der Schritt des Vorsehens des kaltgewalzten Stahlblechs umfasst:

    - Warmwalzen eines aus dem Stahl bestehenden Blechs, um ein warmgewalztes Stahlblech zu erhalten,

    - Winden des warmgewalzten Stahlblechs bei einer Temperatur Tc zwischen 500 und 730 °C,

    - Kaltwalzen des warmgewalzten Stahlblechs, um das kaltgewalzte Stahlblech zu erhalten.


     
    4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 3, wobei der Schritt des Vorsehens des kaltgewalzten Stahlblechs zwischen dem Winden und dem Kaltwalzen ferner umfasst: Haubenglühen bei einer Temperatur zwischen 500 und 650 °C über eine Zeit zwischen 300 s und 12 h.
     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 3, wobei der Schritt des Vorsehens des kaltgewalzten Stahlblechs zwischen dem Winden und dem Kaltwalzen ferner umfasst: langsames Abkühlen des warmgewalzten Stahlblechs von der Windungstemperatur auf Raumtemperatur über eine Zeit zwischen 5 und 7 Tagen.
     
    6. Verfahren nach eine der Ansprüche 1 - 5, wobei das abgeschreckte Blech unmittelbar vor dem Heizen auf die Aufteilungstemperatur PT ein Gefüge aufweist, das zu 10 - 40 % aus Austenit, zu 60 - 90 % aus Martensit und zu 0 - 20 % aus Ferrit besteht.
     
    7. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 6, wobei die chemische Zusammensetzung des Stahls mindestens eine folgender Bedingungen erfüllt:

    C ≥ 0,16%,

    C ≥ 0,20 %,

    Si ≥ 2,0 %,

    Si ≥ 2,2 %,

    Mn ≥ 2,6 %,
    und

    Mn ≥ 2,8%.


     
    8. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 7, wobei, nachdem das Blech auf die Abschreckungstemperatur QT abgeschreckt wird und bevor das Blech auf die Aufteilungstemperatur PT geheizt wird, das Blech über eine Haltezeit zwischen 2 und 8 s, vorzugsweise zwischen 3 und 7 s, bei der Abschreckungstemperatur QT gehalten wird.
     
    9. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 8, wobei die Aufteilungszeit Pt zwischen 50 und 200 s liegt.
     
    10. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 - 9, wobei der Restaustenit blockigen Restaustenit mit einem Querschnittsverhältnis zwischen 2 und 4 und filmartigen Restaustenit mit einem Querschnittsverhältnis zwischen 5 und 8 umfasst.
     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 10, wobei das Gefüge zu 5,5 - 10,5 % filmartigen Restaustenit umfasst.
     
    12. Unbeschichtetes Stahlblech, wobei die chemische Zusammensetzung des Stahls in Gew.-% enthält:

    0,13% ≤ C ≤ 0,22%
    1,2% ≤ Si ≤ 2,3%

    0,02 % ≤ Al ≤ 1,0 %,
    mit 1,25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2,35%,

    2,4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0,05 %

    Nb ≤ 0,05 %

    und im Übrigen Fe und unvermeidliche Fremdstoffe, mit einem Gefüge, das in Oberflächen-% aus folgenden Bestandteilen besteht:

    - zu 71 - 91 % Martensit und Bainit,

    - zu 9 - 13 % Restaustenit,

    - zu höchstens 20 % Ferrit,

    wobei der Restaustenit blockigen Restaustenit mit einem Querschnittsverhältnis zwischen 2 und 4 und filmartigen Restaustenit mit einem Querschnittsverhältnis zwischen 5 und 8 umfasst,
    wobei das Blech eine Streckgrenze zwischen 850 und 1100 MPa, eine Zugfestigkeit von mindestens 1180 MPa, eine Gesamtdehnung von mindestens 14 % und ein Lochausweitungsverhältnis HER von mindestens 30 % aufweist.
     
    13. Stahlblech nach Anspruch 12, wobei das Lochaufweitungsverhältnis HER größer 40 % ist.
     
    14. Stahlblech nach einem der Ansprüche 12 oder 13, wobei die chemische Zusammensetzung des Stahls mindestens eine folgender Bedingungen erfüllt:

    C ≥ 0,16%,

    C ≥ 0,20 %,

    Si ≥ 2,0 %,

    Si ≥ 2,2 %,

    Mn ≥ 2,6 %,
    und

    Mn ≥ 2,8%.


     
    15. Stahlblech nach einem der Ansprüche 12 - 14, wobei der C-Gehalt CRA% im Restaustenit zwischen 0,9 und 1,2 % liegt.
     
    16. Stahlblech nach einem der Ansprüche 12 - 15, wobei das Gefüge zu 5,5 - 10,5 % filmartigen Restaustenit umfasst.
     
    17. Stahlblech, wobei die chemische Zusammensetzung des Stahls in Gew.-% enthält:

    0,13% ≤ C ≤ 0,22%
    1,2% ≤ Si ≤ 2,3%

    0,02 % ≤ Al ≤ 1,0 %,
    mit 1,25% ≤ Si+Al ≤ 2,35%,

    2,4% ≤ Mn ≤ 3%,

    Ti ≤ 0,05 %

    Nb ≤ 0,05 %

    und im Übrigen Fe und unvermeidliche Fremdstoffe, mit einem Gefüge, das in Oberflächen-% aus folgenden Bestandteilen besteht:

    - zu 71 - 91 % Martensit und Bainit,

    - zu 9 - 13 % Restaustenit,

    - zu höchstens 20 % Ferrit,

    wobei der Restaustenit blockigen Restaustenit mit einem Querschnittsverhältnis zwischen 2 und 4 und filmartigen Restaustenit mit einem Querschnittsverhältnis zwischen 5 und 8 umfasst,
    wobei das Blech eine Streckgrenze zwischen 850 und 1100 MPa, eine Zugfestigkeit von mindestens 1180 MPa, eine Gesamtdehnung von mindestens 14 % und ein Lochausweitungsverhältnis HER von mindestens 30 aufweist,
    wobei das Blech mit einer Metallbeschichtung beschichtet ist, das durch Galbanik oder Vakuumaufdampfen hergestellt ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé pour produire une tôle d'acier ayant une microstructure consistant en entre 71 % et 91 % de la somme de martensite et de bainite, entre 9 % et 13 % d'austénite résiduelle, et au plus 20 % de ferrite, lequel procédé comprend les étapes successives suivantes :

    - obtention d'une tôle d'acier laminée à froid, la composition chimique de l'acier contenant, en % en poids :

    0,13 % ≤ C ≤ 0,22 %
    1,2 % ≤ Si ≤ 2,3 %

    0,02 % ≤ Al ≤ 1,0 %,
    avec 1,25 % ≤ Si + Al ≤ 2,35 %,

    2,4 % ≤ Mn ≤ 3 %,

    Ti ≤ 0,05 %,

    Nb ≤ 0,05 %,

    le reste étant du Fe et des impuretés inévitables,

    - recuit de la tôle d'acier à une température de recuit TA de façon que soit obtenue une structure comprenant de 80 % à 100 % d'austénite et de 0 % à 20 % de ferrite,

    - trempe de la tôle à une vitesse de refroidissement comprise entre 20°C/s et 50°C/s jusqu'à une température de trempe QT comprise entre 240°C et 270°C,

    - chauffage de la tôle jusqu'à une température de séparation PT comprise entre 440°C et 460°C et maintien de la tôle à la température de séparation PT pendant un temps de séparation Pt compris entre 50 s et 250 s,

    - immédiatement après l'étape de maintien, refroidissement de la tôle jusqu'à la température ambiante.


     
    2. Procédé pour produire une tôle d'acier ayant une microstructure consistant en entre 71 % et 91 % de la somme de martensite et de bainite, entre 9 % et 13 % d'austénite résiduelle, et au plus 20 % de ferrite, lequel procédé comprend les étapes successives suivantes :

    - obtention d'une tôle d'acier laminée à froid, la composition chimique de l'acier contenant, en % en poids :

    0,13 % ≤ C ≤ 0,22 %
    1,2 % ≤ Si ≤ 2,3 %

    0,02 % ≤ Al ≤ 1,0 %,
    avec 1,25 % ≤ Si + Al ≤ 2,35 %,

    2,4 % ≤ Mn ≤ 3 %,

    Ti ≤ 0,05 %,

    Nb ≤ 0,05 %,

    le reste étant du Fe et des impuretés inévitables,

    - recuit de la tôle d'acier à une température de recuit TA de façon que soit obtenue une structure comprenant de 80 % à 100 % d'austénite et de 0 % à 20 % de ferrite,

    - trempe de la tôle à une vitesse de refroidissement comprise entre 20°C/s et 50°C/s jusqu'à une température de trempe QT comprise entre 290°C et 320°C,

    - chauffage de la tôle jusqu'à une température de séparation PT comprise entre 400°C et 425°C et maintien de la tôle à la température de séparation PT pendant un temps de séparation Pt compris entre 50 s et 250 s,

    - immédiatement refroidissement de la tôle jusqu'à la température ambiante.


     
    3. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 et 2, dans lequel l'étape d'obtention de ladite tôle d'acier laminée à froid comprend :

    - le laminage à chaud d'une tôle faite dudit acier pour que soit obtenue une tôle d'acier laminée à chaud,

    - bobinage de ladite tôle d'acier laminée à chaud à une température Tc comprise entre 500°C et 730°C,

    - laminage à froid de ladite tôle d'acier laminée à chaud pour que soit obtenue ladite tôle d'acier laminée à froid.


     
    4. Procédé selon la revendication 3, dans lequel l'étape d'obtention de ladite tôle d'acier laminée à froid comprend en outre, entre le bobinage et le laminage à froid, la mise en œuvre d'un recuit en discontinu à une température comprise entre 500°C et 650°C pendant un temps compris entre 300 secondes et 12 heures.
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 3, dans lequel l'étape d'obtention de ladite tôle d'acier laminée à froid comprend en outre, entre le bobinage et le laminage à froid, la mise en œuvre d'un refroidissement lent de la tôle d'acier laminée à chaud, de la température de bobinage à la température ambiante, pendant un temps compris entre 5 et 7 jours.
     
    6. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel la tôle trempée a, juste avant le chauffage à la température de séparation PT, une structure consistant en entre 10 % et 40 % d'austénite, entre 60 % et 90 % de martensite et entre 0 % et 20 % de ferrite.
     
    7. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans lequel la composition chimique de l'acier satisfait à au moins l'une des conditions suivantes :

    C ≥ 0,16 %,

    C ≤ 0,20 %,

    Si ≥ 2,0 %,

    Si ≤ 2,2 %,

    Mn ≥ 2,6 %, et
    Mn ≤ 2,8 %.
     
    8. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, dans lequel, après que la tôle a été trempée à la température de trempe QT et avant que la tôle soit chauffée à la température de séparation PT, la tôle est maintenue à la température de trempe QT pendant un temps de maintien compris entre 2 s et 8 s, de préférence entre 3 s et 7 s.
     
    9. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans lequel le temps de séparation Pt est compris entre 50 et 200 s.
     
    10. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, dans lequel l'austénite résiduelle comprend de l'austénite résiduelle polyédrique ayant un rapport d'aspect compris entre 2 et 4 et une austénite résiduelle de type film ayant un rapport d'aspect compris entre 5 et 8.
     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 10, dans lequel la microstructure comprend entre 5,5 % et 10,5 % d'austénite résiduelle de type film.
     
    12. Tôle d'acier non revêtue, dans laquelle la composition chimique de l'acier contient, en % en poids :

    0,13 % ≤ C ≤ 0,22 %
    1,2 % ≤ Si ≤ 2,3 %

    0,02 % ≤ Al ≤ 1,0 %,
    avec 1,25 % ≤ Si + Al ≤ 2,35 %,

    2,4 % ≤ Mn ≤ 3 %,

    Ti ≤ 0,05 %,

    Nb ≤ 0,05 %,

    le reste étant du Fe et des impuretés inévitables,
    ayant une microstructure consistant, en pourcentages en surface, en :

    - entre 71 % et 91 % de martensite et de bainite,

    - entre 9 % et 13 % d'austénite résiduelle,

    - au plus 20 % de ferrite,

    dans laquelle l'austénite résiduelle comprend de l'austénite résiduelle polyédrique ayant un rapport d'aspect compris entre 2 et 4 et une austénite résiduelle de type film ayant un rapport d'aspect compris entre 5 et 8,
    la tôle ayant une limite d'élasticité comprise entre 850 et 1100 MPa, une résistance à la traction d'au moins 1180 MPa, un allongement total d'au moins 14 % et un taux d'expansion de trous HER d'au moins 30 %.
     
    13. Tôle d'acier selon la revendication 12, dans laquelle le taux d'expansion de trous HER est supérieur à 40 %.
     
    14. Tôle d'acier selon l'une quelconque des revendications 12 et 13, dans laquelle la composition chimique de l'acier satisfait à au moins l'une des conditions suivantes :

    C ≥ 0,16 %,

    C ≤ 0,20 %,

    Si ≥ 2,0 %,

    Si ≤ 2,2 %,

    Mn ≥ 2,6 %, et
    Mn ≤ 2,8 %.
     
    15. Tôle d'acier selon l'une quelconque des revendications 12 à 14, dans laquelle la teneur en C CRA% dans l'austénite résiduelle est comprise entre 0,9 % et 1,2 %.
     
    16. Tôle d'acier selon l'une quelconque des revendications 12 à 15, dans laquelle la microstructure comprend entre 5,5 % et 10,5 % d'austénite résiduelle de type film.
     
    17. Tôle d'acier dont la composition chimique de l'acier contient, en % en poids

    0,13 % ≤ C ≤ 0,22 %
    1,2 % ≤ Si ≤ 2,3 %

    0,02 % ≤ Al ≤ 1,0 %,
    avec 1,25 % ≤ Si + Al ≤ 2,35 %,

    2,4 % ≤ Mn ≤ 3 %,

    Ti ≤ 0,05 %,

    Nb ≤ 0,05 %,

    le reste étant du Fe et des impuretés inévitables,
    ayant une microstructure consistant, en pourcentages en surface, en :

    - entre 71 % et 91 % de martensite et de bainite,

    - entre 9 % et 13 % d'austénite résiduelle,

    - au plus 20 % de ferrite,

    dans laquelle l'austénite résiduelle comprend de l'austénite résiduelle polyédrique ayant un rapport d'aspect compris entre 2 et 4 et une austénite résiduelle de type film ayant un rapport d'aspect compris entre 5 et 8,
    la tôle ayant une limite d'élasticité comprise entre 850 et 1100 MPa, une résistance à la traction d'au moins 1180 MPa, un allongement total d'au moins 14 % et un taux d'expansion de trous HER d'au moins 30,
    la tôle étant revêtue d'un revêtement métallique fabriqué par électroplastie ou par un traitement de déposition sous vide.
     




    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description