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Title: DE-NE0000724 - Research Performance Final Report - Investigation of Thermal Aging Effects on the Evolution of Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Cast Duplex Stainless Steels

Abstract

This report details the research activities carried out under DOE-NEUP award number DE-NE0000724 concerning the evolution of structural and mechanical properties during thermal aging of CF–3 and CF–8 cast duplex stainless steels (CDSS). The overall objective of this project was to use state-of-the-art characterization techniques to elucidate trends and phenomena in the mechanical and structural evolution of cast duplex stainless steels (CDSS) during thermal aging. These steels are commonly used as structural materials in commercial light water nuclear power plants, undergoing aging for decades in operation as cooling water pipes, pump casings, valve bodies, etc. During extended exposure to these conditions, CDSS are known to undergo a change in mechanical properties resulting in a loss of ductility, i.e. embrittlement. While it is generally accepted that structural changes within the ferrite phase, such as decomposition into iron (Fe)-rich and chromium (Cr)-rich domains, lead to the bulk embrittlement of the steels, many questions remain as to the mechanisms of embrittlement at multiple length scales. This work is intended to shed insight into the atomic level composition changes, associated kinetic mechanisms, and effects of changing phase structure on micro- and nano-scale deformation that lead to loss of impact toughness and tensile ductility inmore » these steels. In general, this project provides a route to answer some of these major questions using techniques such as 3-dimensional (3-D) atom probe tomography (APT) and real-microstructure finite element method (FEM) modeling, which were not readily available when these steels were originally selected for service in light water reactors. Mechanical properties evaluated by Charpy V-notch impact testing (CVN), tensile testing, and microhardness and nanohardness measurements were obtained for each condition and compared with the initial baseline properties to view trends in deformation behavior during aging. Concurrent analysis of the microstructure and nanostructure by atom probe tomography (APT) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) provide mechanistic insight into the kinetic and mechanical behavior occurring on the nano-scale. The presence and morphology of the ferrite, austenite, and carbide phases have been characterized, and formation of new phases during aging, including spinodal decomposition products (α- and α'-ferrite) and G-phase, have been observed. The mechanical and structural characterization have been used to create accurate FEM models based on the real micro- and nano-structures of the systems. These models provide new insight into the local deformation behavior of these steels and the effects of each individual phase (including ferrite, austenite, carbides, and spinodal decomposition products) on the evolving bulk mechanical behavior of the system. The project was divided into three major tasks: 1. Initial Microstructure and Mechanical Property Survey and Initiate Heat Treatment; 2. Microstructural Characterization and Mechanical Property Testing During Aging; and 3. Microstructure-based Finite Element Modeling. Each of these tasks was successfully executed, resulting in reliable data and analysis that add to the overall body of work on the CDSS materials. Baseline properties and aging trends in mechanical data confirm prior observations and add new insights into the mechanical behavior of the steels. Structural characterization on multiple length scales provides new information on phase changes occurring during aging and sheds light on the kinetic processes occurring at the atomic scale. Furthermore, a combination of mechanical testing and microstructural characterization techniques was utilized to design FEM models of local deformation behavior of the ferrite and austenite phases, providing valuable new information regarding the effects of each of the microstructural components on the hardening and embrittlement processes. The data and analysis presented in this report and the publication associated with this project (§V) increase the understanding of aging and deformation in CF–3 and CF–8 steels. These results provide valuable information that can be utilized to aid in making informed decisions regarding the ongoing use of these steels in commercial nuclear infrastructure.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. University of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1413256
Report Number(s):
13-4765
13-4765
DOE Contract Number:
NE0000724
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; stainless steels; light water reactors; structural materials; piping; thermal aging; characterization; atom probe tomography (APT); finite element method (FEM)

Citation Formats

Ankem, Sreeramamurthy, Perea, Daniel E., Kolli, R. Prakash, Mburu, Sarah, and Schwarm, Samuel C. DE-NE0000724 - Research Performance Final Report - Investigation of Thermal Aging Effects on the Evolution of Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Cast Duplex Stainless Steels. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1413256.
Ankem, Sreeramamurthy, Perea, Daniel E., Kolli, R. Prakash, Mburu, Sarah, & Schwarm, Samuel C. DE-NE0000724 - Research Performance Final Report - Investigation of Thermal Aging Effects on the Evolution of Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Cast Duplex Stainless Steels. United States. doi:10.2172/1413256.
Ankem, Sreeramamurthy, Perea, Daniel E., Kolli, R. Prakash, Mburu, Sarah, and Schwarm, Samuel C. Mon . "DE-NE0000724 - Research Performance Final Report - Investigation of Thermal Aging Effects on the Evolution of Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Cast Duplex Stainless Steels". United States. doi:10.2172/1413256. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1413256.
@article{osti_1413256,
title = {DE-NE0000724 - Research Performance Final Report - Investigation of Thermal Aging Effects on the Evolution of Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Cast Duplex Stainless Steels},
author = {Ankem, Sreeramamurthy and Perea, Daniel E. and Kolli, R. Prakash and Mburu, Sarah and Schwarm, Samuel C.},
abstractNote = {This report details the research activities carried out under DOE-NEUP award number DE-NE0000724 concerning the evolution of structural and mechanical properties during thermal aging of CF–3 and CF–8 cast duplex stainless steels (CDSS). The overall objective of this project was to use state-of-the-art characterization techniques to elucidate trends and phenomena in the mechanical and structural evolution of cast duplex stainless steels (CDSS) during thermal aging. These steels are commonly used as structural materials in commercial light water nuclear power plants, undergoing aging for decades in operation as cooling water pipes, pump casings, valve bodies, etc. During extended exposure to these conditions, CDSS are known to undergo a change in mechanical properties resulting in a loss of ductility, i.e. embrittlement. While it is generally accepted that structural changes within the ferrite phase, such as decomposition into iron (Fe)-rich and chromium (Cr)-rich domains, lead to the bulk embrittlement of the steels, many questions remain as to the mechanisms of embrittlement at multiple length scales. This work is intended to shed insight into the atomic level composition changes, associated kinetic mechanisms, and effects of changing phase structure on micro- and nano-scale deformation that lead to loss of impact toughness and tensile ductility in these steels. In general, this project provides a route to answer some of these major questions using techniques such as 3-dimensional (3-D) atom probe tomography (APT) and real-microstructure finite element method (FEM) modeling, which were not readily available when these steels were originally selected for service in light water reactors. Mechanical properties evaluated by Charpy V-notch impact testing (CVN), tensile testing, and microhardness and nanohardness measurements were obtained for each condition and compared with the initial baseline properties to view trends in deformation behavior during aging. Concurrent analysis of the microstructure and nanostructure by atom probe tomography (APT) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) provide mechanistic insight into the kinetic and mechanical behavior occurring on the nano-scale. The presence and morphology of the ferrite, austenite, and carbide phases have been characterized, and formation of new phases during aging, including spinodal decomposition products (α- and α'-ferrite) and G-phase, have been observed. The mechanical and structural characterization have been used to create accurate FEM models based on the real micro- and nano-structures of the systems. These models provide new insight into the local deformation behavior of these steels and the effects of each individual phase (including ferrite, austenite, carbides, and spinodal decomposition products) on the evolving bulk mechanical behavior of the system. The project was divided into three major tasks: 1. Initial Microstructure and Mechanical Property Survey and Initiate Heat Treatment; 2. Microstructural Characterization and Mechanical Property Testing During Aging; and 3. Microstructure-based Finite Element Modeling. Each of these tasks was successfully executed, resulting in reliable data and analysis that add to the overall body of work on the CDSS materials. Baseline properties and aging trends in mechanical data confirm prior observations and add new insights into the mechanical behavior of the steels. Structural characterization on multiple length scales provides new information on phase changes occurring during aging and sheds light on the kinetic processes occurring at the atomic scale. Furthermore, a combination of mechanical testing and microstructural characterization techniques was utilized to design FEM models of local deformation behavior of the ferrite and austenite phases, providing valuable new information regarding the effects of each of the microstructural components on the hardening and embrittlement processes. The data and analysis presented in this report and the publication associated with this project (§V) increase the understanding of aging and deformation in CF–3 and CF–8 steels. These results provide valuable information that can be utilized to aid in making informed decisions regarding the ongoing use of these steels in commercial nuclear infrastructure.},
doi = {10.2172/1413256},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Dec 11 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Mon Dec 11 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Technical Report:

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  • A procedure and correlations are presented for predicting Charpy-impact energy, tensile flow stress, fracture toughness J-R curve, and J{sub IC} of aged cast stainless steels from known material information. The ``saturation`` impact strength and fracture toughness of a specific cast stainless steel, i.e., the minimum value that would be achieved for the material after long-term service, is estimated from the chemical composition of the steel. Mechanical properties as a function of time and temperature of reactor service are estimated from impact energy and flow stress of the unaged material and the kinetics of embrittlement, which are also determined from chemicalmore » composition. The J{sub IC} values are determined from the estimated J-R curve and flow stress. Examples of estimating mechanical properties of cast stainless steel components during reactor service are presented. A common predicted lower-bound J-R curve for cast stainless steels of unknown chemical composition is also defined for a given grade of steel, ferrite content, and temperature.« less
  • Cast duplex stainless steel piping in light water nuclear reactors expe- rience thermal aging embrittlement during operational service. Interest in extending the operational life to 80 years requires an increased understanding of the microstructural evolution and corresponding changes in mechanical behavior. We analyze the evolution of the microstructure during thermal aging of cast CF-3 and CF-8 stainless steels using electron microscopy and atom probe tomography. The evolution of the mechanical properties is measured concurrently by mechanical methods such as tensile tests, Charpy V-notch tests, and instrumented nanoinden- tation. A microstructure-based finite element method model is developed and uti- lized inmore » conjunction with the characterization results in order to correlate the local stress-strain effects in the microstructure with the bulk measurements. This work is supported by the DOE Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP), contract number DE-NE0000724.« less
  • The microstructure and mechanical properties in unaged and thermally aged (at 280 oC, 320 oC, 360 oC, and 400 oC to 4300 h) CF–3 and CF–8 cast duplex stainless steels (CDSS) are investigated. The unaged CF–8 steel has Cr-rich M23C6 carbides located at the δ–ferrite/γ– austenite heterophase interfaces that were not observed in the CF–3 steel and this corresponds to a difference in mechanical properties. Both unaged steels exhibit incipient spinodal decomposition into Fe-rich α–domains and Cr-rich α’–domains. During aging, spinodal decomposition progresses and the mean wavelength (MW) and mean amplitude (MA) of the compositional fluctuations increase as a functionmore » of aging temperature. Additionally, G–phase precipitates form between the spinodal decomposition domains in CF–3 at 360 oC and 400 oC and in CF–8 at 400 oC. The microstructural evolution is correlated to changes in mechanical properties.« less
  • The microstructure and mechanical properties in unaged and thermally aged (at 280 °C, 320 °C, 360 °C, and 400 °C to 4300 h) CF–3 and CF–8 cast duplex stainless steels (CDSS) are investigated. The unaged CF–8 steel has Cr-rich M 23C 6 carbides located at the δ–ferrite/γ–austenite heterophase interfaces that were not observed in the CF–3 steel and this corresponds to a difference in mechanical properties. Both unaged steels exhibit incipient spinodal decomposition into Fe-rich α–domains and Cr-rich α’–domains. During aging, spinodal decomposition progresses and the mean wavelength (MW) and mean amplitude (MA) of the compositional fluctuations increase as amore » function of aging temperature. Additionally, G–phase precipitates form between the spinodal decomposition domains in CF–3 at 360 °C and 400 °C and in CF–8 at 400 °C. Finally, the microstructural evolution is correlated to changes in mechanical properties.« less
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