In the context of obtaining an excellent elongation and tensile-strength combination in the third generation of advanced high strength steel, we emphasized the practical significance of adjusting the retained austenite fraction and stability in medium-Mn steel to obtain better mechanical properties. A novel cyclic quenching and austenite reverse transformation (CQ-ART) was used to obtain a large retained austenite content in Fe-0.25C-3.98Mn-1.22Al-0.20Si-0.19Mo-0.03Nb (wt.%) Nb–Mo micro-alloyed medium-Mn steel. The results show that after twice cyclic quenching and ART, the alloy exhibited optimum comprehensive properties, characterized by an ultimate tensile strength of 838 MPa, a total elongation of 90.8%, a product of strength and elongation of 76.1 GPa%, and the volume fraction of austenite of approximately 62 vol.%. The stability of retained austenite was significantly improved with the increasing of the number of cyclic quenching. Moreover, the effects of CQ-ART on the microstructure evolution, mechanical properties, C/Mn partitioning behavior, and austenite stability were investigated. Further, the strengthening effect of microalloying elements Nb–Mo was also discussed.
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