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Comparison of magnetic Barkhausen noise and ultrasonic velocity measurements for microstructure evaluation of SAE 1040 and SAE 4140 steels

The aim of this study is to compare the performance of magnetic Barkhausen noise and ultrasonic methods for the evaluation of the microstructure of commercial steels. Following the austenitization of the specimens made of SAE 1040 and SAE 4140, various heat treatments were carried out to obtain microstructures consisting of martensite, tempered martensite, fine pearlite-ferrite, and coarse pearlite-ferrite. The microstructures were initially characterized by SEM investigation and hardness measurements. The magnitude and position of Barkhausen noise peaks were determined via a commercial system. The propagation rates of longitudinal waves were determined with the ultrasonic pulse-echo technique. Barkhausen noise response and sound velocity goes to minimum for the as-quenched martensite, and both tend to increase in the following sequence: tempered martensite, fine pearlite-ferrite, and coarse pearlite-ferrite. However, the magnetic features are more sensitive to the microstructure variations than to the sound velocity. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.