High Temperature Failure Analysis
Creep occurs under load at high temperature. Boilers, gas turbine engines, and ovens are some of the systems that have components that experience creep. An understanding of high temperature materials behavior is beneficial in evaluating failures in these types of systems.
Failures involving creep are usually easy to identify due to the deformation that occurs. Failures may appear ductile or brittle. Cracking may be either transgranular or intergranular. While creep testing is done at constant temperature and constant load actual components may experience damage at various temperatures and loading conditions.
Creep of Metals
High temperature progressive deformation of a material at constant stress is called creep. High temperature is a relative term that is dependent on the materials being evaluated. A typical creep curve is shown below:
In a creep test a constant load is applied to a tensile specimen maintained at a constant temperature. Strain is then measured over a period of time. The slope of the curve, identified in the above figure, is the strain rate of the test during stage II or the creep rate of the material.
Primary creep, Stage I, is a period of decreasing creep rate. Primary creep is a period of primarily transient creep. During this period deformation takes place and the resistance to creep increases until stage II. Secondary creep, Stage II, is a period of roughly constant creep rate. Stage II is referred to as steady state creep. Tertiary creep, Stage III, occurs when there is a reduction in cross sectional area due to necking or effective reduction in area due to internal void formation.
Stress rupture testing is similar to creep testing except that the stresses used are higher than in a creep test. Stress rupture testing is always done until failure of the material. In creep testing the main goal is to determine the minimum creep rate in stage II. Once a designer knows the materials will creep and has accounted for this deformation a primary goal is to avoid failure of the component.
Stress rupture tests are used to determine the time to cause failure. Data is plotted log-log as in the chart above. A straight line is usually obtained at each temperature. This information can then be used to extrapolate time to failure for longer times. Changes in slope of the stress rupture line are due to structural changes in the material. It is significant to be aware of these changes in material behavior, because they could result in large errors when extrapolating the data.
High temperature failures is a significant problem. A failure analysis can identify the root cause of your failure to prevent reoccurrence. AMC can provide failure analysis of high temperature failures to identify the root cause of your component failure.
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