Non-metallic inclusions found in steel can affect its performance characteristics. Their impact depends not only on their quality, but also, among others, on their size and distribution in the steel volume. The literature mainly describes the results of tests on hard steels, particularly bearing steels. The amount of non-metallic inclusions found in steel with a medium carbon content melted under industrial conditions is rarely presented in the literature. The tested steel was melted in an electric arc furnace and then desulfurized and argonrefined. Seven typical industrial melts were analyzed, in which ca. 75% secondary raw materials were used. The amount of non-metallic inclusions was determined by optical and extraction methods. The test results are presented using stereometric indices. Inclusions are characterized by measuring ranges. The chemical composition of steel and contents of inclusions in every melts are presented. The results are shown in graphical form. The presented analysis of the tests results on the amount and size of non-metallic inclusions can be used to assess them operational strength and durability of steel melted and refined in the desulfurization and argon refining processes.
The experimental material consisted of semi-finished products of high-grade, medium-carbon constructional steel with: manganese, chromium, nickel, molybdenum and boron. The experimental material consisted of steel products obtained in three metallurgical processes: electric and desulfurized (E), electric and desulfurized with argon-refined (EA) and oxygen converter with vacuum degassed of steel (KP). The production process involved two melting technologies: in a 140-ton basic arc furnace with desulphurisation and argon refining variants, and in a 100-ton oxygen converter. Billet samples were collected to analyze: relative volume of impurities, microstructure and fatigue tests. The samples were quenched and austenitized at a temperature of 880o C for 30 minutes. They were then cooled in water and tempered by holding the sections at a temperature of 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600o C for 120 minutes and air-cooled. Fatigue tests were performed with the use of a rotary bending machine at a frequency of 6000 cpm. The results were statistical processed and presented in graphic form. This paper discusses the results of microstructural analyses, the distribution of the relative volume of impurities in different size ranges, the fatigue strength characteristics of different production processes, the average number of sampledamaging cycles and the average values of the fatigue strength coefficient for various heat processing options.