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Journal of Materials Processing Technology 145 (2004) 118125

Using SN curves to analyse cracking due to repeated thermal shock


B.B. Kerezsi, J.W.H. Price, R.N. Ibrahim
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Monash University, P.O. Box 197, Cauleld East, Vic. 3145, Australia Received 20 November 2001; accepted 25 July 2003

Abstract Thermal shock loading of operating pressure equipment is a common occurrence, particularly in thermal power stations. The tensile stresses that are produced at the surface of a heated component exposed to a rapid thermal down shock can be very high, particularly in the presence of stress concentrations such as an abrupt change in geometry. Repeated application of the thermal shocks may eventually lead to crack initiation and crack growth. In some cases these cracks lead to component failure while in other cases the cracks arrest at a harmless depth. The ability to use current codes and standards to describe this type of crack growth is particularly desirable. Unfortunately, thermal shock is a very complex transient situation with highly non-linear stress distributions and environmental effects that are not well described by some codes. This paper describes attempts to use the stress versus cycles curve (SN curves) described in the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel code to predict crack initiation in a at plate carbon steel specimen exposed to repeated thermal shock from temperatures below the creep range. The issue considered in this paper is how to estimate stresses in this complex situation for notched specimens. Modications to the code are suggested where necessary to achieve the desired accuracy. 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Thermal shock; Crack initiation; Pressure vessels; SN curves; Thermal fatigue

1. Introduction The initiation of cracks due to repeated thermal shock (RTS) is due to the restraint of thermal expansions and contractions of a material as it is exposed to rapid changes in temperature. This restraint (either external or internal) results in strains and associated stresses in the material. If the changes in temperature are severe enough (especially in the presence of stress concentration factors such as abrupt changes in geometry), and the resulting strains large enough, local plastic deformation of the component will occur. Repeated application of this loading leads to rapid crack initiation as per low-cycle mechanical fatigue. Cracking due to RTS is a particular problem in thermal power station plant equipment. Examples of damaged equipment include valves, spray stations and depressurisation vessels. Unfortunately, thermal shocks in boiler equipment are an inevitable side effect of normal operation, with start-up and shutdown procedures thought to be especially damaging. Cyclic operation of traditionally base-loaded
Corresponding author. Tel.: +61-3-9903-2846; fax: +61-3-9903-2766. E-mail address: raafat.ibrahim@eng.monash.edu.au (R.N. Ibrahim).

units only increases the severity of the problem. The boiler tube damage mechanism of waterside-initiated cracking in carbon steel economiser headers is related to this practice [1]. A typical shutdown due to such a failure can (depending on the market price of electricity at the time) cost a utility over A$ 1,000,000 for replacement power. Of slightly lesser concern (though still important) is the cost associated with replacement of equipment with signs of RTS cracks designated unt for continued operation by tness for service codes such as the British Standard BS 7910 [2] and the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code [3]. Determining whether the methods presented in the above codes are actually suitable for predicting RTS crack initiation and growth is highly desirable. This is particularly the case as the guidelines have been generated from models based on uniaxial, isothermal fatigue tests. This paper provides a comparison of results from experimental testing of notched carbon steel specimens exposed to RTS with predictions for crack initiation taken from the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division 2 [3]. Several methods are used to estimate the stresses developed at the notch tip during the thermal shock. These are then compared to the ASME data.

0924-0136/$ see front matter 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2003.07.001

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2. Notch stress estimation methods Transient effects, localised plastic strains, cyclic loading, high stress non-linearity and notch sensitivity of the material combine to make the process of determining the stress amplitude at a notch in a plate subjected to RTS very difcult. In this paper, a number of theoretical and empirical solutions that can be adapted for use are studied. A brief description of those methods potential for use in this analysis will be presented here, with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each. For a more thorough analysis of the background and theory relating to these methods, resources such as Juvinall [4] and Bannantine et al. [5] are suggested. Note that in all cases, plane stress is assumed to exist at the notch due to the relative small thickness (10 mm) of the specimens used. This assumption has been justied through examination of the post-fracture surfaces of the specimens. 2.1. Sharp notch approximation The rst method simply applies the elastic stress intensity factor calculations by assuming that the notch is sharp. Thus Kmax Sa = r (1)

fatigue notch factor by a notch sensitivity analysis, whereby: kf = 1 + kt 1 1 + n /r (3)

where kf is the fatigue notch factor, and n a material constant. Eq. (3) is an empirical t taken from tests by Neuber [7] (many other equivalent empirical equations exist, see, for example [4]). The material constant n is known as the Neuber constant and is claimed to be dependent on grain size, representing the materials sensitivity to notches. Multiplying the nominal stress by this factor provides the stress amplitude necessary for a fatigue life analysis: Sa = kf Sn (4)

2.2.1. Notch sensitivity analysis with kf limited to 5 A limit to the value of kf used in fatigue analysis is sometimes suggested in the literature. For example, the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division 2 [3], suggests in article 5-111 that any stress concentration factors used in a fatigue analysis should be limited to a maximum of 5.0. This is a simple way of dealing with many complicating factors surrounding fatigue analysis, including localised plasticity at the notch root and the so-called worst-case notch effect. This limit on kf will be considered during the analysis. 2.3. Neuber notch pseudostress analysis When strains at the notch are largely plastic, an elastic material behaviour assumption as used in the previous methods is no longer applicable. It becomes necessary to dene the pseudostress or equivalent elastic stress amplitude (Sa ) as the strain at the notch multiplied by Youngs modulus, i.e.: Sa = a E (5)

where Sa is the alternating elastic stress at the notch tip, Kmax the maximum stress intensity factor range during the cycle assuming the notch acts as a sharp crack, and r the notch radius. As has been shown through investigation [6], Eq. (1) is correct to within 5% for notches of radii less than 1 mm, with the error reducing further with smaller radii. 2.2. Notch sensitivity analysis In the case of cyclic loading, the effect of notches has been found to be less than the theoretical solutions given by Eq. (1) would indicate. This may be due to individual material response, which is ignored by the above methods. Thus, in a notch sensitivity analysis, allowance is made for a particular material behaviour by a reduction in the theoretical stress concentration factor. In this analysis, Eq. (1) is used to determine the theoretical sharp notch stress amplitude, which in turn is used to estimate the overall theoretical stress concentration factor (kt ) from the following equation: kt = Sa Sn (2)

where a is the total local strain amplitude at the notch. After yielding occurs, stress and strain concentrations are no longer dened by the single term, i.e. kt . Instead, the stress concentration decreases and the strain concentration increases in accordance with the Neuber relationship such that kt = k k = a a Sn e n (6)

where k is the stress concentration factor and k the strain concentration factor, a the local stress amplitude at the notch and en the nominal strain amplitude at the notch. When material behaviour remote from the notch is predominantly elastic, the nominal strain (en ) can be written in terms of stress divided by Youngs modulus (Sn /E) so: kt Sn = a a E (7)

where Sn is the nominal alternating stress at the notch tip (i.e. assuming no stress concentration due to notch). This stress concentration value (kt ) is not directly used in a crack initiation life analysis but rather converted into the

Now, substituting (5) into (7) and (1), the notch pseudostress (Sa ) can be obtained in terms of the stress intensity factor

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65mm

and the local stress [8]: (kt Sn Sa = = ra a K2 )2 (8)

Primary Load Specimen Thermocouples Water Quench Zone Attached Mass 300mm

Now, with knowledge of the cyclic stressstrain relationship of the material, (8) can be solved for any value of stress intensity factor. A substitution of kf for kt in (8) can be made to take into account notch sensitivity during cyclic loading [9]: (kf Sn )2 Sa = a (9)

2.3.1. Neuber notch pseudostress analysis with kf limited to 5 As with the notch sensitivity analysis outlined previously, it is possible to implement an upper limit of 5 on the value of kf used in (9). The effect of employing this limit will be investigated during this analysis.

Starter Notches Primary Load 25mm 10mm

Fig. 2. Specimen design (not to scale).

3. Experimental technique and results The testing completed in this investigation has been carried out on a thermal fatigue test rig that has been purpose-built for the investigation of crack initiation and growth due to RTS loading. The test rig, pictured in Fig. 1, consists of a convection furnace, static loading structure, quenching system and controls. A thorough analysis of the development of the test rig and specimen design, including a review of previous trends in the experimental investigations of thermal shock cracking can be found in previous work by the authors [10]. The design of the specimens is shown in Fig. 2. Note the use of the attached masses on either side of the specimen so as to ensure one-dimensional cooling occurs when the front face is quenched. V-shaped notches with root radius 0.25 or 0.1 mm and a depth of 3.5 mm were machined into the front faces of the specimens at 100 mm intervals. As described in [10], interaction between the notches at this separation was found to be negligible. Specimen material was carbon steel, grade AS 1548-7-430R [11]. During testing, maximum specimen temperature was limited to 370 C to remove any creep effects while a steady state mechanical load of 90 MPa was applied to half of the specimens through use of the static loading structure. Water chemistry was monitored in the storage tank. Dissolved oxygen (DO) levels were varied between tests, while pH levels were held steady at around 8.0. The rst set of tests used fully oxygenated tap water with DO of around 8 ppm. This water was vigorously pre-boiled in the second set of tests, driving off excess oxygen and reducing the DO to around 2 ppm. The loading cycle imposed on the specimens by the test rig consisted of heating to a central set point of 330 C followed by a 7 s quench using room temperature water. The presence of convection currents in the furnace meant that an internal temperature gradient was developed, resulting in a linear vertical temperature distribution in the specimens. This meant that at the central set point of 330 C, the upper-most

Fig. 1. Photo of testing rig layout.

B.B. Kerezsi et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 145 (2004) 118125 Table 1 Notch root stresses developed during 7 s thermal shock from a central specimen temperature of 330 C Notch radius (mm) 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.1 0.1 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 P (MPa) 0 90 0 90 0 90 0 90 0 90 0 90 Kmax (MPa m) 32.7 40.2 30.1 36.4 29.1 35.0 29.1 35.0 26.2 29.6 24.3 27.4
1 Sa (MPa)

121

Sn (MPa) 122.7 122.7 119.4 119.4 116.5 116.5 116.5 116.5 108.3 108.3 102.3 102.3

kt 9.5 12 9.0 11 14 17 8.9 11 8.6 9.8 8.5 9.6

kf 5.2 6.3 5.0 5.9 6.1 7.2 4.9 5.8 4.8 5.4 4.7 5.3

2 Sa (MPa)

3 Sa (MPa)

Sa1 (MPa) 1005 1378 887 1163 1183 1554 838 1104 706 857 621 756

Sa 2 (MPa) 941 941 887 887 850 850 838 850 706 754 621 686

N1 (cycles) 1600 1500 3000 2900 4500 4000

N2 (cycles) 1200 1000 2000 1700 3000

1167 1434 1074 1299 1642 1975 1038 1248 935 1056 867 978

644 779 597 704 711 839 577 682 520 585 481 542

613 613 597 597 582 582 577 582 520 541 481 511

notch on the specimen was at 370 C while the lowest notch was at only 290 C. A visual inspection using a stereo microscope (10100 magnication) of crack development was completed on specimens after each series of 500 cycles. To allow comparisons with ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section VIII [3] design life curves, small crack initiation was dened to have occurred when a complete crack was visible across the full width of the specimen at the notch base. Extrapolations of the long crack growth data were used to further rene when this initiation was to have occurred. All crack growth after initiation was measured visually on each side of the specimen, with the average of the two values used in any subsequent reporting. Table 1 lists the results from the testing, showing elastic and pseudostress stress calculations along with the observed number of cycles to crack initiation. The following nomenclature is presented for use with Table 1:

primary steady state mechanical loading. Kmax maximum change in stress intensity factor developed at notch root assuming sharp notch approximation. 1 Sa elastic stress amplitude at notch root using theoretical sharp notch approximation, Eq. (1). Sn nominal stress amplitude with no notch present. kt theoretical stress concentration factor. kf fatigue notch factor. 2 Sa elastic stress amplitude using sharp notch approximation and notch sensitivity analysis, Eq. (4). 3 Sa elastic stress amplitude using sharp notch approximation and notch sensitivity analysis (Eq. (4)), with kf < 5.0. Sa1 pseudostress amplitude using sharp notch approximation, notch sensitivity analysis and Neuber notch pseudostress analysis, Eq. (9).

10000
No Primary Load, D.O.=8ppm No primary Load, D.O.=2ppm 90MPa Primary Load, D.O.=8ppm 90MPa Primary Load, D.O.=2ppm ASME VIII Fatigue Data Curve

Stress Amplitude (S a - MPa)

1000

100 1000 Cycles to Small Crack Initiation (N i )

10000

Fig. 3. Number of cycles to crack initiation versus elastic notch stress amplitude for a sharp notch approximation with notch sensitivity analysis.

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10000
No Primary Load, D.O.=8ppm No primary Load, D.O.=2ppm 90MPaPrimary Load, D.O.=8ppm 90MPa Primary Load, D.O.=2ppm ASME VIII Fatigue Data Curve

Stress Amplitude (S a - MPa)

1000

100 1000 Cycles to Small Crack Initiation (N i )

10000

Fig. 4. Number of cycles to crack initiation versus elastic notch stress amplitude for a sharp notch approximation with notch sensitivity analysis, kf limited to 5.0.

Sa2

N1 N2

pseudostress amplitude using sharp notch approximation, notch sensitivity analysis and Neuber notch pseudostress analysis (Eq. (9)), with kf < 5.0. number of cycles to crack initiation, test set #1, DO 8 ppm. number of cycles to crack initiation, test set #2, DO 2 ppm.

Figs. 36 represent the experimental crack initiation data that is presented in Table 1 as separate SN curves with ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Divi-

sion 2 [3] fatigue crack initiation data included. Note that this is the actual ASME average fatigue data as opposed to design data that is published in the code. The design data has a built in conservatism of 2 times on stress and 20 times on lifetime, whichever is more conservative. Note also that the ASME curve, suitable for carbon and low alloy steels, is only applicable at temperatures below 370 C and does not take into account the effects of unusually corrosive environments. As can be seen from the comparisons shown in Figs. 36, the accuracy of the ASME fatigue data curves to predict crack initiation during thermal shock depends heavily on the method chosen to calculate the stress amplitude at the notch

10000
No Primary Load, D.O.=8ppm No primary Load, D.O.=2ppm 90MPa Primary Load, D.O.=8ppm 90MPa Primary Load, D.O.=2ppm ASME VIII Fatigue Data Curve

Stress Amplitude (S a - MPa)

1000

100 1000 Cycles to Small Crack Initiation (N i )

10000

Fig. 5. Number of cycles to crack initiation versus Neuber notch pseudostress amplitude for a sharp notch approximation with notch sensitivity analysis.

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10000
No Primary Load, D.O.=8ppm No primary Load, D.O.=2ppm 90MPaPrimary Load, D.O.=8ppm 90MPa Primary Load, D.O.=2ppm ASME VIII Fatigue Data Curve

Stress Amplitude (S a - MPa)

1000

100 1000 Cycles to Small Crack Initiation (N i )

10000

Fig. 6. Number of cycles to crack initiation versus Neuber notch pseudostress amplitude for a sharp notch approximation with notch sensitivity analysis, kf limited to 5.0.

during the transient. The use of an elastic sharp notch approximation (Figs. 3 and 4) with and without a limit on the notch fatigue factor (kf ) gives non-conservative results, i.e. the predicted fatigue initiation is systematically later than the actual crack initiation. The Neuber notch pseudostress approximation gives a consistently conservative estimate when no limit on kf is made (Fig. 5). The best level of correlation is obtained when a limit of 5.0 for kf is enforced (Fig. 6).

at plate specimen. Crack depth at this stage is also not clear. Therefore, any correlation between the two methods must remain qualitative. The results presented here indicate that the Neuber notch pseudostress developed in a notched carbon steel specimen exposed to RTS can be related to number of cycles to initiation in a linear manner similar to the ASME fatigue data curve. This means the ASME fatigue data curve can be used as a guideline for determining approximate times to develop small (<1 mm) deep cracks in carbon steel exposed to RTS. This then is the meaning of initiation in relation to the ASME SN curves. 4.2. Placing limits on kf and the worst-case notch approach The placement of a constraint on the maximum value of kf implies that there is a limit to the inuence a stress raiser may have on time to crack initiation. That is, after increasing the severity of a stress concentration beyond a certain point, no further acceleration in crack initiation is observed. Prater and Cofn [8] approached this observation by suggesting that there is such a thing as a worst-case notch, the presence of which has the greatest effect on crack initiation times. Increasing the severity of a notch beyond this value (say by decreasing the notch radius) has no further effect on crack initiation time. In their study of carbon steel in a high temperature water environment, Prater and Cofn calculated this worst-case notch to have a radius of 0.165 mm. Theoretically even machining marks, if deep enough, can also behave as a worst-case notch. For this reason, the work by Prater and Cofn proposes a conservative approach that assumes all notches behave as the worst case. This approach is justied by assuming that machining marks are likely to be present in any notch.

4. Discussion 4.1. A denition of initiation Regardless of the method used to estimate stress amplitudes, any attempt to use the ASME Section VIII [3] curves to predict crack initiation should be approached with care. This is because the ASME fatigue curves are based on uniaxial strain controlled testing of small cylindrical specimens. Failure in one of these specimens is dened as when complete fracture occurs. It is then assumed that the failure of these small specimens is equivalent to the initiation of a small crack in a larger structure. Referring to ASTM E 8M-96 [12], the standard small cylindrical specimen size for tensile tests is 12.5 mm in diameter. Depending on the stress amplitude during fatigue testing and the presence of mean stresses, a small amount of crack growth will occur before specimen failure, probably in the order of a few millimetres. This means however that no exact initiation size can be known to allow comparison with experimental data from large specimens. In the experimental analysis, crack initiation is dened as when a full thickness edge crack is developed across the

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No Primary Load, D.O.=8ppm No primary Load, D.O.=2ppm 90MPa Primary Load, D.O.=8ppm 90MPa Primary Load, D.O.=2ppm ASME VIII Fatigue Data Curve

Stress Amplitude (S a - MPa)

1000

100 1000 Cycles to Small Crack Initiation (N i )

10000

Fig. 7. Crack initiation data using a Neuber notch pseudostress approach and assuming a uniform notch fatigue factor (kf ) of 5.0 for all cases.

The solution proposed by Prater and Cofn has some relevance to the results of this thesis. In fact, looking at the calculated values for kf in Table 1, the act of assuming a limit of 5.0 has affected all but three of the notches. If it is assumed that these three notches also have a kf value of 5.0, and a Neuber notch pseudostress analysis is applied, the SN curve as shown in Fig. 7 is developed. The difference between Figs. 6 and 7 is minimal, yet the simplication of assuming a uniform kf value of 5.0 is far reaching. Assuming that all notches behave the same, it is no longer required to determine the stress intensity factor as per the sharp notch approximation. It is similarly unnecessary to perform a notch sensitivity analysis. Further tests on less severe notches are required however to determine just how widely applicable this simplication may be. 4.3. Using ASME VIII to predict crack initiation From these observations, it appears that an elastic stress analysis should not be used in conjunction with the ASME Section VIII fatigue data to determine crack initiation lifetimes in notched specimens exposed to RTS. To do so could lead to non-conservative estimates. Instead, a Neuber notch pseudostress analysis with a limit on the notch fatigue factor kf should be performed. If a pure elastic analysis is necessary (for example, due to lack of material data), a different approach to lifetime estimation may be useful. As the narrow spread of experimental data in Fig. 4 seems to indicate, a form of limit analysis may be more appropriate than the linear SN curve. For example, elastic stress amplitudes larger than 500 MPa could be seen to result in rapid crack initiation (<10,000 cycles) while smaller amplitudes will require a

much longer time. This would be more conservative but simpler.

5. Conclusions The stress amplitude developed at the surface of the at plate specimen during RTS has been successfully related to the number of cycles to small crack initiation. The method for calculating the stress amplitude has been rened, using the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division 2 (1998) fatigue data curves as a guideline. Use of an elastic stress analysis alone provided results that showed the ASME data to be systematically non-conservative. Removal of this non-conservatism was achieved by applying an elasticplastic Neuber notch pseudostress analysis. Test results show it may be possible to reduce the complexity of applying a Neuber notch pseudostress analysis without losing too much accuracy. In particular, a worst-case notch approach can be applied in which all stress concentrators are assumed to act with a fatigue notch factor (kf ) of 5.0. Similarly if only a purely elastic analysis is possible, a screening analysis may prove suitable. This proves to be the simplest case, in which it is estimated that any elastic stress amplitude in excess of 500 MPa will result in rapid crack initiation.

Acknowledgements This work has been completed with the assistance of an Australian Research Council grant with contributions from HRL Technology Ltd., Optima Energy, Western Power, Pacic Power and the Electric Power Research Institute

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of USA. The Monash University Postgraduate Publications Award has also provided assistance.

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