Influences of gaseous environment on low growth-rate fatigue crack propagation in steels. Annual report No. 1, January 1980. Report No. FPL/R/80/1030
Description: The influence of gaseous environment is examined on fatigue crack propagation behavior in steels. Specifically, a fully martensitic 300-M ultrahigh strength steel and a fully bainitic 2-1/4Cr-1Mo lower strength steel are investigated in environments of ambient temperature moist air and low pressure dehumidified hydrogen and argon gases over a wide range of growth rates from 10/sup -8/ to 10/sup -2/ mm/cycle, with particular emphasis given to behavior near the crack propagation threshold ..delta..K/sub 0/. It is found that two distinct growth rate regimes exist where hydrogen can markedly accelerate crack propagation rates compared to air, (1) at near-threshold levels below (5 x 10/sup -6/ mm/cycle) and (2) at higher growth rates, typically around 10/sup -5/ mm/cycle above a critical maximum stress intensity K/sub max//sup T/. Hydrogen-assisted crack propagation at higher growth rates is attributed to a hydrogen embrittlement mechanism, with K/sub max//sup T/ nominally equal to K/sub Iscc/ (the sustained load stress corrosion threshold) in high strength steels, and far below K/sub Iscc/ in the strain-rate sensitive lower strength steels. Hydrogen-assisted crack propagation at near-threshold levels is attributed to a new mechanism involving fretting-oxide-induced crack closure generated in moist (or oxygenated) environments. The absence of hydrogen embrittlement mechanisms at near-threshold levels is supported by tests showing that ..delta..K/sub 0/ values in dry gaseous argon are similar to ..delta..K/sub 0/ values in hydrogen. The potential ramifications of these results are examined in detail.
Date: January 1, 1980
Creator: Ritchie, R.O.; Suresh, S. & Toplosky, J.
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