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Title: 2014 Accomplishments-Tritium aging studies on stainless steel: Fracture toughness properties of forged stainless steels-Effect of hydrogen, forging strain rate, and forging temperature

Forged stainless steels are used as the materials of construction for tritium reservoirs. During service, tritium diffuses into the reservoir walls and radioactively decays to helium-3. Tritium and decay helium cause a higher propensity for cracking which could lead to a tritium leak or delayed failure of a tritium reservoir. The factors that affect the tendency for crack formation and propagation include: Environment; steel type and microstructure; and, vessel configuration (geometry, pressure, residual stress). Fracture toughness properties are needed for evaluating the long-term effects of tritium on their structural properties. Until now, these effects have been characterized by measuring the effects of tritium on the tensile and fracture toughness properties of specimens fabricated from experimental forgings in the form of forward-extruded cylinders. A key result of those studies is that the long-term cracking resistance of stainless steels in tritium service depends greatly on the interaction between decay helium and the steels’ forged microstructure. New experimental research programs are underway and are designed to measure tritium and decay helium effects on the cracking properties of stainless steels using actual tritium reservoir forgings instead of the experimental forgings of past programs. The properties measured should be more representative of actual reservoir propertiesmore » because the microstructure of the specimens tested will be more like that of the tritium reservoirs. The programs are designed to measure the effects of key forging variables on tritium compatibility and include three stainless steels, multiple yield strengths, and four different forging processes. The effects on fracture toughness of hydrogen and crack orientation were measured for type 316L forgings. In addition, hydrogen effects on toughness were measured for Type 304L block forgings having two different yield strengths. Finally, fracture toughness properties of type 304L stainless steel were measured for four different forging strain rates which and two forging temperatures. Tritium exposures have been and are being conducted on companion specimens for property measurements in the upcoming years.« less
  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
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Technical Report
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Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
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United States