Institute for Applied Materials – Materials Science and Engineering

Simulation of the microstructural evolution in steel during tempering


  • Computer simulations are able to improve the development process of materials as well as to save costs by (partially) replacing prototypes and laboratory tests
  • Previous models of the tempering process in steel take basic mechanisms such as heat transfer, phase transitions and plasticity into account, but they neglect important mechanisms, for instance the formation of secondary carbides, retained austenite and auto tempering
  • Thereby, the accuracy of the predictions made by these simplified models is too low in order to pass on laboratory tests


Together with the IWM Aachen and the IWT Bremen, a  comprehensive model to simulate the tempering process of steel shall be developed that produces an accurate prediction of the final microstructure after tempering.



  • Analysis of the microstructure using electron microscopy and X-Ray diffractometry
  • Mechanical and thermal analysis of the processes by means of dilatometry and calorimetry
  • Modeling of the phase transformations during tempering
  • Simulation based on the developed models by means of the method of finite elements (FEM)