Stress relaxation cracking in AISI 316L-type austenitic stainless steels

Abstract : Stress relaxation cracking can potentially be found in the heat affected zone of large welded parts after service in the 500-700°C temperature range. This phenomenon, known as reheat cracking (RC), is driven by the high temperature relaxation of residual stress fields initially introduced during welding. The main objective of this doctoral thesis is to identify the material and microstructural characteristics as well as the driving forces responsible for RC damage development in AISI 316L-type austenitic stainless steels.The proposed methodology relies on the reproduction of RC conditions in five chemically different AISI 316L-type steels using pre-compressed CT-like specimens. Subsequent investigation using SEM, EBSD, TEM and X-ray tomography revealed that intergranular damage had developed in some of the specimens. The extent of damage was found to depend on the steel grade, the temperature and duration of the thermal exposure, and the notch radius.The numerical investigation of the local residual stress and strain fields in the specimens was carried out using a novel internal state variable-based viscoplastic constitutive model. A comparison between the predicted residual stress fields in the CT-like specimens and the intergranular damage distributions measured by X-ray tomography enabled the threshold level of local residual stresses associated with the initiation of stress relaxation microcracks to be inferred. Finally, the distribution of the measured local RC damage was modelled numerically by explicitly linking a suitable phenomenological scalar damage law with the above constitutive model. The corresponding results were found to be consistent with the observed damage distributions.
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Harry Pommier. Stress relaxation cracking in AISI 316L-type austenitic stainless steels. Mechanics of materials [physics.class-ph]. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ENMP0073⟩. ⟨tel-01314141⟩

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