The dissolution of cementite at 910 °C in an Fe-2.06Cr-3.91C (at. pct) alloy is investigated experimentally. The Cr concentration profiles in austenite and cementite are measured by means of the scanning transmission electron microscopy/energy dispersive spectrometry (STEM/EDS) technique at different dissolution times. The measurements show the Cr enrichment in the cementite during the dissolution process. The measurements suggest that the main part of the reaction for this alloy is controlled by Cr diffusion in the cementite or in the austenite matrix. This observation is in agreement with predictions of the local equilibrium hypothesis. The carbide fraction and average particle diameter are evaluated as functions of dissolution time. The Cr enrichment of the cementite results in a supersaturation and a possible decomposition of the cementite. Microstructural evidence for such a decomposition is found by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). A new program package called DICTRA, which is suitable for the simulation of diffusional reactions in multicomponent alloys, has been applied to the present case. The simulation is compared with the experimental data, and a good agreement between the two is found.
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