Structure and composition of oxide inclusions in iron alloys


(note: the project has already been assigned)

Non-metallic inclusions (such as oxide and sulphides) are common in all steels as a result of steelmaking and thermal treatment processes. Despite the small percentage that these inclusions represent in steel, they have a significant influence on several properties of steel, such as its formability, toughness, machinability and corrosion resistance, this influence being generally negative, even if at times, depending on their size, composition and distribution, some of these inclusions can also have a beneficial effect on steel properties.

The structure and composition of non-metallic inclusions in steels is mainly determined by the deoxidation practice (how and when deoxidizer elements such as Al, Si or Mn are added) and can also be affected by the chemical composition of the alloy and (eventual) thermal treatments to which it is subjected being cast.

We offer, in this semester project, a study in which the student will analyse how the morphology and structure of oxide inclusions in iron alloys changes as a result of variations in process parameters (mainly deoxidation practice and eventually heat treatments). The student will experience the fabrication, by induction melting of laboratory samples, of inclusion-containing iron alloys, and will characterize those samples by typical metallographic techniques, which include optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) equipped with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS).

For more information please contact David Hernández Escobar or Alejandra Slagter at

[email protected]

[email protected]