Évolutions microstructurales et comportement en fluage à haute température d'un acier inoxydable austénitique

Abstract : The ASTRID project aims at designing a fast-reactor prototype for the 4th generation of nuclear power plants. The material to be used for fuel cladding is a cold-worked austenitic stainless steel stabilized with titanium (15Cr-15Ni Ti type) and optimized in minor elements. This material was developed to limit recovery and irradiation-induced swelling and to improve microstructural stability and mechanical properties in normal operating conditions. In case of incidental situations (irradiation temperature > 650°C), the cladding might rapidly reach higher temperatures up to 950°C where its stability could be affected. The present work aims at improving knowledge and understanding of the microstructural evolution and creep behaviour of this steel at these temperatures (650°C-950°C).Microstructural characterizations of thermally-aged samples have been performed in order to study the effect of temperature on metallurgical evolutions (precipitation, recovery and recrystallization). A phenomenological model including recovery and recrystallization processes was set up to reproduce hardness measurements versus ageing time and temperatures.Isothermal creep tests up to 950°C under a wide range of stress levels allowed investigation of viscoplastic flow, microstructural evolution under stress and damage/failure processes. In order to evaluate the effect of high-temperature loading, microstructural characteristics of stress-free thermally-aged samples were compared with post-mortem examinations of creep specimens.At 650°C and 750°C the value of stress exponent is higher than 7. The main deformation mechanism during creep test is power-low creep, which is consistent with the results found in the literature.Beyond 850°C, the increase in dislocation mobility promotes recovery and recrystallization processes. As a consequence, a competition between work hardening due to viscoplastic deformation and softening due to dynamic recovery takes place. At 950°C, viscoplastic flow is strongly affected by recrystallization during creep test, especially in the tertiary stage. The comparison between microstructures of crept specimens and stress-free, thermally-aged samples leads to the conclusion that the recrystallization kinetics is accelerated by application of a mechanical loading.As for the fracture behaviour, creep tests under air environment at lower temperatures (650°C-750°C), led to predominating ductile fracture but some intergranular zones were observed on fracture surfaces. Creep tests under high vacuum at higher temperatures (850°C-950°C) lead to a high fracture elongation with a reduction of area up to 100%.
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Lucie Mateus Freire. Évolutions microstructurales et comportement en fluage à haute température d'un acier inoxydable austénitique. Matériaux. PSL Research University, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018PSLEM016⟩. ⟨tel-01906250⟩

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