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The mechanical properties of steel are strongly influenced by the underlying microstructure, which is readily observed using optical microscopy. This chapter describes common room-temperature steel microstructures and how they are achieved via heat treatment. It discusses the production of hypo- and hypereutectoid steels and the effect of cooling rate on microstructure. It also examines quenched steels and the phase transformations associated with rapid cooling. It describes the development of lath and plate martensite, retained austenite, and bainite and how to identify the various phases. The chapter concludes with a brief review of spheroidized microstructures.

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The Various Microstructures of Room-Temperature Steel, Steel Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist, By John D. Verhoeven, ASM International, 2007, p 21–38,

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