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Influence of Strain Rate, Temperature, Plastic Strain, and Microstructure on the Strain Rate Sensitivity of Automotive Sheet Steels

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Abstract

This work identifies the influence of strain rate, temperature, plastic strain, and microstructure on the strain rate sensitivity of automotive sheet steel grades in crash conditions. The strain rate sensitivity m has been determined by means of dynamic tensile tests in the strain rate range 10−3–200 s−1 and in the temperature range 233–373 K. The dynamic flow curves have been tested by means of servohydraulic tensile testing. The strain rate sensitivity decreases with increasing plastic strain due to a gradual exhausting of work hardening potential combined with adiabatic softening effects. The strain rate sensitivity is improved with decreasing temperature and increasing strain rate, according to the thermally activated deformation mechanism. The m-value is reduced with increasing strength level, this decrease being most pronounced for steels with a yield strength below 400 MPa. Solid solution alloying with manganese, silicon, and especially phosphorous elements lowers the strain rate sensitivity significantly. Second phase hardening with bainite and martensite as the second constituent in a ferritic matrix reduces the strain rate sensitivity of automotive sheet steels. A statistical modeling is proposed to correlate the m-value with the corresponding quasistatic tensile flow stress.

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