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Metals 2019, 9(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/met9020197

Influence of Strain Rate and Waveshape on Environmentally-Assisted Cracking during Low-Cycle Fatigue of a 304L Austenitic Stainless Steel in a PWR Water Environment

1
Pprime Institute, UPR 3346 CNRS-ENSMA-Université de Poitiers, ISAE-ENSMA, Téléport 2, 1 avenue Clément Ader, BP 40 109-86961 Futuroscope Chasseneuil CEDEX, France
2
Framatome, Tour Areva - 1 place Jean Millier, 92 084 La Défense CEDEX, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Plasticity and Fatigue at High Temperature)
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Abstract

In this paper, the low cycle fatigue resistance of a 304L austenitic stainless steel in a simulated pressurized water reactor (PWR) primary water environment has been investigated by paying a special attention to the interplay between environmentally-assisted cracking mechanisms, strain rate, and loading waveshape. More precisely, one of the prime interests of this research work is related to the consideration of complex waveshape signals that are more representative of solicitations encountered by real components. A detailed analysis of stress-strain relation, surface damage, and crack growth provides a preliminary ranking of the severity of complex, variable strain rate signals with respect to triangular, constant strain-rate signals associated with environmental effects in air or in PWR water. Furthermore, as the fatigue lives in PWR water environment are mainly controlled by crack propagation, the crack growth rates derived from striation spacing measurement and estimated from interrupted tests have been carefully examined and analyzed using the strain intensity factor range ΔKε. It is confirmed that the most severe signal with regards to fatigue life also induces the highest crack growth enhancement. Additionally two characteristic parameters, namely a threshold strain εth* and a time T*, corresponding to the duration of the effective exposure of the open cracks to PWR environment have been introduced. It is shown that the T* parameter properly accounts for the differences in environmentally-assisted growth rates as a function of waveshape. View Full-Text
Keywords: stainless steel; environmentally-assisted cracking stainless steel; environmentally-assisted cracking
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Poulain, T.; de Baglion, L.; Mendez, J.; Hénaff, G. Influence of Strain Rate and Waveshape on Environmentally-Assisted Cracking during Low-Cycle Fatigue of a 304L Austenitic Stainless Steel in a PWR Water Environment. Metals 2019, 9, 197.

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