SUS440 is a high-carbon stainless steel, and its martensite matrix has high heat resistance, high corrosion resistance, and high pressure resistance. It has been widely used in mechanical parts and critical materials. However, the SUS440 martempered matrix has reliability problems in thin plate applications and thus research uses different austempering heat treatments (tempering temperature: 200 °C–400 °C) to obtain a matrix containing bainite, retained austenite, martensite, and the M7C3 phase to investigate the relationships between the resulting microstructure and tensile mechanical properties. Experimental data showed that the austempering conditions of the specimen affected the volume fraction of phases and distribution of carbides. After austenitizing heat treatment (1080 °C for 30 min), the austempering of the SUS440 thin plates was carried out at a salt-bath temperature 300 °C for 120 min and water quenching was then used to obtain the bainite matrix with fine carbides, with the resulting material having a higher tensile fracture strength and average hardness (HRA 76) makes it suitable for use as a high-strength thin plate for industrial applications.
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