Herein, the investigation of the tensile behavior of lean medium Mn Quenching and Partitioning (Q&P) steels containing 0.2 wt% C, 4.5 wt% Mn, and additions of 1.5 wt% Si or 1.3 wt% Al is concentrated upon. By the variation of the quenching temperature (TQ), different volume fractions of primary martensite (α′prim) are adjusted, influencing the subsequent microstructural evolution during Q&P processing. Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), the final microstructure consisting of tempered martensite (α″), retained austenite (RA), partially bainitic ferrite (αB), and final martensite (α′final) is characterized. Furthermore, interrupted tensile tests at gradually increased strains are conducted to investigate the stability of RA against strain-induced martensite transformation (SIMT) and overall tensile behavior of lean medium Mn Q&P steels. The investigations manifest the formation of larger amounts of αB and consequently lower RA contents, when Si is substituted by Al. As an aftermath, the tendency to form α′final is significantly lower, compared with the Si-alloyed composition, reflected in the overall stress–strain behavior. Especially in case of the Si-alloyed samples containing RA fractions exceeding 15 vol%, an over-accelerated SIMT is observed, inducing failures occurring prior to necking, whereas for the Al-alloyed samples, a wider process window is obtained.
- lean medium Mn Q&P steels
- retained austenite stabilities
- stress–strain behaviors