AISI 52100 is a high carbon alloy steel typically used in bearings. One hardening heat treatment method for AISI 52100 is austempering, in which the steel is heated to above austenitizing temperature, cooled to just above martensite starting (Ms) temperature in quench media (typically molten salt), held at that temperature until the transformation to bainite is completed and then cooled further to room temperature. Different austempering temperatures and holding times will develop different bainite percentages in the steel and result in different mechanical properties. In the present work, the bainitic transformation kinetics of AISI 52100 were investigated through experiments and simulation. Molten salt austempering trials of AISI 52100 were conducted at selected austempering temperatures and holding times. The austempered samples were characterized and the bainitic transformation kinetics were analyzed by Avrami equations using measured hardness data. The CHTE quench probe was used to measure the cooling curves in the molten salt from austenitizing temperature to the selected austempering temperatures. The heat transfer coefficient (HTC) was calculated with the measured cooling rates and used to calculate the bainitic transformation kinetics via DANTE software. The experimental results were compared with the calculated results and they had good agreement.

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