An Image Processing Based Tool For Determining Carbide Volume Fraction and Size Distribution in Bearing Steels

Carbide volume fraction and size distribution in 100cr6 steel has been studied using
experimental and computational methods. Industrial production cycle of bearing steels includes
spheroidization and hardening steps results with coarse globular carbides in martensitic matrix.
It is well known that coarse precipitates adversely effects the mechanical properties. Therefore, microstructural evaluation is necessary to determine the carbide size and distribution. Scanning
electron microscopy studies has been carried out after the austenitization with different
annealing parameters. Scanning electron microscope micrographs has been evaluated according
to the line intercept method according to ASTM 562—11 (manual point count method) as well as
using ImageJ software and proposed image processing based tool. The proposed tool includes (i)
pre-processing steps such as converting gray-scale, smoothing, thresholding, morphological
operations to improve the results of later processing steps, (ii) finding contour and convex hull
representation, and (iii) calculation of different features such as volume and size. Experimental
results show that the proposed tool can be used for analysis of carbide volume fraction and size



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