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Title: Synergistic Computational and Microstructural Design of Next- Generation High-Temperature Austenitic Stainless Steels

The purpose of this project was to: 1) study deformation twinning, its evolution, thermal stability, and the contribution on mechanical response of the new advanced stainless steels, especially at elevated temperatures; 2) study alumina-scale formation on the surface, as an alternative for conventional chromium oxide, that shows better oxidation resistance, through alloy design; and 3) design new generation of high temperature stainless steels that form alumina scale and have thermally stable nano-twins. The work involved few baseline alloys for investigating the twin formation under tensile loading, thermal stability of these twins, and the role of deformation twins on the mechanical response of the alloys. These baseline alloys included Hadfield Steel (Fe-13Mn-1C), 316, 316L and 316N stainless steels. Another baseline alloy was studied for alumina-scale formation investigations. Hadfield steel showed twinning but undesired second phases formed at higher temperatures. 316N stainless steel did not show signs of deformation twinning. Conventional 316 stainless steel demonstrated extensive deformation twinning at room temperature. Investigations on this alloy, both in single crystalline and polycrystalline forms, showed that deformation twins evolve in a hierarchical manner, consisting of micron–sized bundles of nano-twins. The width of nano-twins stays almost constant as the extent of strain increases, but themore » width and number of the bundles increase with increasing strain. A systematic thermomechanical cycling study showed that the twins were stable at temperatures as high as 900°C, after the dislocations are annealed out. Using such cycles, volume fraction of the thermally stable deformation twins were increased up to 40% in 316 stainless steel. Using computational thermodynamics and kinetics calculations, we designed two generations of advanced austenitic stainless steels. In the first generation, Alloy 1, which had been proposed as an alumina-forming austenitic stainless steel, is fully austenitic, but possesses carbides that were not dissolvable and could not be controlled. This alloy also did not show deformation twinning. Alloy 2 was designed based on alloy 1, but was not fully austenitic and had significant traces of uncontrollable precipitates as well. Alloy 3, also designed based on alloy 1, was mainly austenitic with evolution of a second phase along the grain boundaries, but also had precipitates that were not controllable. Based on the knowledge gained from the first generation of the designed steels, two more steels, called PGAA1 and PGAA2, were proposed using genetic algorithms that, based on the modelling, were supposed to exhibit alumina-scale formation. PGAA1, however, did not demonstrate a fully austenitic structure. PGAA2 could achieve a mostly austenitic structure through thermo-mechanical processing, and was then used for oxidation tests. The oxidation tests of PGAA2, with and without nitrogen impurities, along with alloy 1, suggested that PGAA2 can form alumina-scale similar to alloy 1, but N impurity will prevent formation of such a scale, probably through formation of aluminum nitrides. For the above mentioned genetic algorithm framework of alloy design, separate models were developed for specific design criteria. For prediction of alumina formation in stainless steels, a model was constructed based off of two criteria – effective valence and third element effect. These criteria capture the thermodynamics and kinetics of alumina formation in steels. To test the efficacy and robustness of this model, they were tested against alloys in the literature which had been experimentally verified to exhibit alumina formation and the predictions were in excellent agreement with the experiments. Another meta-model for prediction of twinning in unknown steel compositions was developed by an informatics based machine learning/data mining approach. Stacking Fault Energy data was captured from the literature for a large number of steel compositions and then this data was used to build a classifier to predict deformation mechanisms. Here a training set-test set based analysis was performed to test performance. The above genetic algorithm based optimization framework for alloy design was exhibited to be a successful methodology for accelerated materials discovery in the context of alloy design.« less
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  1. Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, College Station, TX (United States)
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Technical Report
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Texas Engineering Experiment Station, College Station, TX (United States)
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United States