Off-campus WSU users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your WSU access ID and password, then click the "Off-campus Download" button below.

Non-WSU users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

First Advisor

susil putatunda


A novel, Two-Step Austenitizing heat treatment process for creation of Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) with an optimum combination of strength, ductility and fracture toughness was conceived in this investigation. This novel heat treatment process involves heating the ductile iron in the lower intercritical temperature range and then raising the temperature to the fully austenitic temperature range followed by austempering in the bainitic temperature range. This heat treatment was expected to result in a microstructure consisting of proeutectoid ferrite, very fine scale bainitic ferrite, and high-carbon austenite. Tensile and CT test specimens were created and tested to evaluate the effects of several Two-Step Austenitizing heat treatment processes. The effect of the heat treatment parameters on the dislocation density of ADI was also studied. A simple, first-principles approach was taken to model the phase transformation kinetics associated with the phase transformations in the ADI alloy. The mechanical properties of a multiphase crystalline material such as ADI are hypothesized to be dictated by complex and interrelated effects involving microstructural features (such as the ferrite lathe size, retained austenite volume fraction, and carbon content of retained austenite) that are, in turn, strongly influenced by austenitization and austempering times and temperatures. This research study determined that, compared to conventionally processed ADI., one variant of the Two-Step Austenitizing heat treatment process yielded an ADI alloy with superior fracture toughness without significantly compromising the strength and ductility. It was concluded that prior nucleated proeutectoid ferrite was an important factor in this improvement. An analytical model based upon the nucleation of proeutectoid ferrite and graphite nodules during intercritical austenitization was created to explain this physical outcome.

Off-campus Download