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Work rolls made of indefinite chill double-poured (ICDP) iron are commonly used in the finishing trains of hot-strip mills (HSMs). In actual service, spalling, apart from other surface degeneration modes, constitutes a major mechanism of premature roll failures. Although spalling can be a culmination of roll material quality and/or mill abuse, the microstructure of a broken roll can often unveil intrinsic inadequacies in roll material quality that possibly accentuate failure. This is particularly relevant in circumstances when rolls, despite operation under similar mill environment, exhibit variations in roll life. The paper provides an insight into the microstructural characteristics of spalled ICED HSM work rolls, which underwent failure under similar mill operating environment in an integrated steel plant under the Steel Authority of India Limited. Microstructural features influencing ICDP roll quality, viz. characteristics of graphite, carbides, martensite, etc., have been extensively studied through optical microscopy, quantitative image analysis (QIA), and electron-probe microanalysis (EPMA). These are discussed in the context of spalling propensity and roll life.

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