The multiphase material analyzed for this application example, i.e. high speed steel (HSS, specifically HSS-652) is part of a family of alloys used mostly for producing cutting tools. Their name represents the synthesis of two of their most important characteristics:
- These alloys are part of a multi-component system Fe-C-X where X represents a group of alloying elements among which the most important are: Cr, W, Mo, V and for certain grades Co.
- The most important property of these alloys is their capability of retaining a very high hardness, even in the high temperature ranges resulting from the high speed metal cutting process.
This application discusses combined EBSD and EDS as a new tool for the characterization of this material, which used to be a domain of X-ray diffraction analysis and optical microscopy.
The stability of HSS is largely dependent on the chemistry, size and distribution of carbides, which form minority phases in the material. Analyses were performed to determine these parameters.