Advanced high strength steels (AHSS) are developed to reduce vehicle weight without sacrificing passenger safety. The newly developed AHSS frequently incorporates the austenite as the intrinsic component with large amount and good stability, which is realized by carefully designed alloying elements and thermo-mechanical processing. To explore the great potential of austenite in enhancing the strain hardening behavior of AHSS, detailed information on the mechanical behavior of single austenite grain is a prerequisite, which can be collected by a small-scale test. The present work reviews the recent progress in understanding the nano/micro-mechanical behavior of austenite in varied AHSS. Three different plasticity modes including dislocation plasticity, martensitic transformation, and deformation twinning can be observed in the austenite grains during small-scale tests, given proper stacking fault energy and crystal orientation. The remaining issues concerned with the nano/micro-mechanical behavior of austenite are discussed. The present review advances the general understanding of the nano/micro-mechanical behavior of austenite grains in AHSS, which may shed light on the precise austenite engineering with the development of new AHSS, realizing the dream of high-performance steels at low cost.
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