The Effect of Cryogenic Treatment Temperature on the Mechanical Properties and Microstructure of 440C Martensitic Stainless Steel

Indah Uswatun Hasanah, A. Ali Alhamidi, Rachmat Suryana


The use of stainless steel worldwide is increasing due to its favorable mechanical properties, such as high hardness, corrosion resistance, and wear. One of the martensitic stainless steels is SS 440C. One of the main effects of increasing the significant carbon content is lowering the final martensitic temperature (MF) of the steel. If this temperature is below room temperature, the quenching process leaves austenite in the microstructure. This is commonly known as retained austenite (RA). In general, minimizing the number of RAs is recommended, as they can cause excessive wear. Therefore, the aim this research is for reduce the retained austenite content in SS 440C steel with a cryogenic treatment process. The cryogenic treatment was carried out for 50 minutes at temperatures of -80, -110, and -140°C and compared with non-cryogenic treatment to determine the residual austenite, hardness, and wear resistance. The highest hardness and wear resistance values were obtained from cryogenic treatment at -140°C at 58 HRC and 2.2 x 10-3 mm3/m. The metallographic results produce a martensite microstructure, residual austenite, and carbide phases. XRD analysis on cryogenic treatment samples at -140°C yielded structures of iron bcc, iron fcc, M7C3, and M23C6 compounds.


Retained Austenite, Cryogenic Treatment, Stainless Steel Martensitic 440C

Full Text:



H. Bhadeshia, and R. Honeycombe, Steels: microstructure and properties, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2017.

V. Varghese,, M. Ramesh and D. Chakradhar, "Influence of deep cryogenic treatment on performance of cemented carbide (WC-Co) inserts during dry end milling of maraging steel," Journal of Manufacturing Processes, Vol.37, pp. 242-250, 2019,

X. Wang, C. Liu, B. Sun, D. Ponge, C. Jiang and D. Raabe, "The dual role of martensitic transformation in fatigue crack growth," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol.119, No.9, pp. e2110139119, 2022.

M. Kultamaa, K. Monkkonen, J.J. Saarinen and M. Suvanto, "Corrosion protection of injection molded porous 440c stainless steel by electroplated zinc coating," Coatings, Vol.11, No.8, pp. 949, 2021,

P. Jovičević-Klug and B. Podgornik, "Review on the effect of deep cryogenic treatment of metallic materials in automotive applications," Metals, Vol.10, No.4, pp. 434, 2020,

N. Savyasachi, J.A. Sajan, R. Reji and A.M. Rafi, "A Review on the Cryogenic Treatment of Stainless Steels, Tool Steels and Carburized Steels," International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technlogy, Vol.5, No.6, 2020.

M. Okatay, E. Tasci, B. Kucukelyas and D. Uzunsoy, "Investigation of Microstructure and Mechanical & Electrochemical Behaviors of Martensitic Stainless Steel (MSS) and Alloyed White Cast Iron (WCI) Rolls Fabricated by a Centrifugal Casting, Journal of Innovative Science and Engineering, Vol.4, No.2 pp. 109-118, 2020.

J. Syarif, M. H.Yousuf, Z. Sajuri, A.H. Baghadi, M. Merabtene M.Z. Omar, "Effect of partial solution treatment temperature on microstructure and tensile properties of 440C martensitic stainless steel," Metals, Vol.10, No.5, pp. 694, 2020,

F. Gao, X. Zhong, L. Tian and S. Quan, "Microstructure and mechanical properties of low temperature carburizing layer on AISI 440C martensitic stainless steel," Materials Express, Vol.10, No.6, pp. 841-847, 2020,

Razavykia, A., C. Delprete and P. Baldissera, "Correlation between microstructural alteration, mechanical properties and manufacturability after cryogenic treatment: A review," Materials, Vol.12, No.20, pp. 3302,

Z. Nishiyama, Martensitic Transformation," Elsevier, 2012.

S.B. Zhou, F. Hu, W. Zhou, L. Cheng, C.Y. Hu and K.M. Wu, "Effect of retained austenite on impact toughness and fracture behavior of medium carbon submicron-structured bainitic steel," Journal of Materials Research and Technology, Vol.14, pp. 1021-1034, 2021,

N. Resnina, I.A. Palani, S. Belyaev, S.S.M. Prabu, P. Liulchak, U. Karaseva, M. Manikandan, S. Jayachandran, V. Bryukhanova and A. Sahu, "Structure, martensitic transformations and mechanical behaviour of NiTi shape memory alloy produced by wire arc additive manufacturing," Journal of Alloys and Compounds, Vol.851, pp. 156851, 2021,

B. Podgornik, M. Brunčko and P. Kirbiš, "Wear resistance of high c high si steel with low retained austenite content and kinetically activated bainite," Metals, Vol.10, No.5, p. 672, 2020,

K. Worasaen, A. Stark, T. Karuna and P. Suwanpinij, "Performance of a Matrix Type High Speed Steel after Deep Cryogenic and Low Tempering Temperature," Materia Science Forum, Vol.1016, pp.1423-1429, 2021,

Z. Dai, H. Chen, R. Ding, Q. Lu, C. Zhang, Z. Yang and S. van der Zwag, "Fundamentals and application of solid-state phase transformations for advanced high strength steels containing metastable retained austenite," Materials Science and Engineering: R: Reports, Vol.143, pp. 100590, 2021,

G. Gao, R. Liu, K. Wang, X. Gui, R.D.K. Misra and B. Bai, "Role of retained austenite with different morphologies on sub-surface fatigue crack initiation in advanced bainitic steels," Scripta Materialia, Vol.184, pp. 12-18, 2020,

Z. Chai, Q. Lu, J. Hu, L. Wang, Z. Wang, J. Wang and W. Xu, , "Effect of retained austenite on the fracture behavior of a novel press-hardened steel," Journal of Materials Science & Technology, Vol.135, pp.34-45, 2023,

P. Zhangm Z. Liu, J. Liu, J. Yangm Q. Mai X. Yue, "Effect of aging plus cryogenic treatment on the machinability of 7075 aluminum alloy," Vacuum, Vol.208, pp. 111692, 2023,

B. Che, L. Lu, J. Zhang, J. Zhang, M. Ma, L. Wang and F. Qi, "Effects of cryogenic treatment on microstructure and mechanical properties of AZ31 magnesium alloy rolled at different paths," Materials Science and Engineering: A, Vol.832, pp. 142475, 2022,

F. Kara, M. Karabatak, M. Ayyildiz and E. Nas, "Effect of machinability, microstructure and hardness of deep cryogenic treatment in hard turning of AISI D2 steel with ceramic cutting," Journal of Materials Research and Technology, Vol.9, No.1, pp. 969-983, 2020,

A. Idayan, A. Gnanavelbabu and K. Rajkumar, "Influence of deep cryogenic treatment on the mechanical properties of AISI 440C bearing steel," Procedia Engineering, Vol.97, pp. 1683-1691, 2014,

Z. Yang, Z. Liu, J. Liang, Z. Yang and G. Sheng, "Elucidating the role of secondary cryogenic treatment on mechanical properties of a martensitic ultra-high strength stainless steel," Materials Characterization, Vol. 178, pp. 111277, 2021,

G. Prieto, A. Mandiri, G. Rabbia, W.R. Tuckart, an R. Dommarco, "Rolling Contact Fatigue Resistance of Cryogenically Treated AISI 440C Steel," Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, Vol. 29,pp. 2216-2226, 2020,

Y. Zhang, D. Zhan, X. Qi and Z. Jiang, "Effect of tempering temperature on the microstructure and properties of ultrahigh-strength stainless steel," Journal of Materials Science & Technology, Vol.35, No.7, pp. 1240-1249, 2019,

A.A. Gorni, "Steel forming and heat treating handbook," São Vicente, Vol 24, 2011.

R.F. Barron and G.F. Nellis, Cryogenic heat transfer, CRC press, 2020.

P. Herrera, "Effect of Cryogenic Treatment on the Abrasive Wear Resistance of Engineering Alloys," University of Sheffield, 2020.

S. Li, N. Min, L. Deng, X. Wu and H. Wang, "Influence of deep cryogenic treatment on internal friction behavior in the process of tempering," Materials Science and Engineering: A, Vol. 528, No. 3, pp. 1247-1250, 2011,

J.D. Puskar, R.A. Hanson, A.J., Chidester and R.L. Houghton, Effects Of Varying Austenitizing Temperatures On Vacuum Hardening Of Type 440c Stainless Steel, United State: Sandia National Lab.(SNL-NM), 2009.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License