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Experimental comparison of cavitation erosion rates of different steels used in hydraulic turbines

This article has been downloaded from IOPscience. Please scroll down to see the full text article. 2010 IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 12 012052 (http://iopscience.iop.org/1755-1315/12/1/012052) View the table of contents for this issue, or go to the journal homepage for more

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25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

Experimental comparison of cavitation erosion rates of different steels used in hydraulic turbines
L Tn-Tht 1 Institut de Recherche dHydro-Qubec, Expertise Mcanique, mtallurgie et hydroolien 1800 boul. Lionel-Boulet, Varennes (Qubec), J3X-1S1, Canada E-mail : ton-that.laurent@ireq.ca
Abstract. The prediction of cavitation erosion rates has an important role in order to evaluate the exact life of components in fluid machineries. Hydro-Qubec has studied this phenomenon for several years, in particular in hydraulic turbine runners, to try to understand the different degradation mechanisms related to this phenomenon. This paper presents part of this work. In this study, we carried out experimental erosion tests to compare different steels used in actual hydraulic turbine runners (carbon steels, austenitic and martensitic stainless steels) to high strength steels in terms of cavitation erosion resistance. The results for these different classes of steels are presented. The tests have been performed in a cavitating liquid jet apparatus according to the ASTM G134-95 standard to simulate the flow conditions. The mass loss has been followed during the exposure time. The maximum depth of erosion, the mean depth of erosion, and the mean depth erosion rate are determined. As a result we found that ASTMA514 high strength steels present excellent cavitation erosion resistance properties. The cavitation eroded surface is followed by optical profilometry technique. Determination of mechanical properties and examinations of the eroded surfaces of the samples have also been carried out in order to identify the erosion mechanisms involved in the degradation of these kinds of materials.
1

1. Introduction
Cavitation phenomenon often occurs in fluid machineries, turbo-machineries, ship propellers and in many other applications [1]. According to ASTM G32-06 standard [2], cavitation is the formation and the subsequent collapse, within a liquid, of cavities or bubbles that contain vapor or a mixture of vapor and gas. When these phenomena occur near a solid surface like a turbine blade, they may generate serious erosion damages and consequent mass losses. These losses may induce perturbations of fluid flow and decrease the efficiency of hydraulic machines. To protect these installations from cavitation, different materials in plate or welded may be used. Among them, we should cite the stellite alloys [3-5] or high strength cobalt austenitic stainless steels which have demonstrated excellent properties to fight cavitation erosion [6;7]. Due to their high costs and despite the good properties they demonstrate, they are not systematically used in hydraulic turbines runners. More frequently, austenitic stainless steels such as, SS308L or SS309L are used to repair cavitation damages in turbines. Actually, these kinds of materials have been studied several times because of their good combination of cavitation erosion resistance and weldability at a competitive cost [8-11]. However, these last years a new kind of materials emerges in several field of the energy industry: quenched and tempered high strength steels. Primarily these steels were applied for building large structure like bridges because of their lightness, their excellent mechanical properties and their cost. Rapidly they were evaluated for other industrial equipment like pipelines or hydraulic turbines. In the present paper we propose to compare the cavitation erosion resistance of quenched and tempered high strength steels to the one of austenitic and martensitic stainless steels. Erosion tests have been carried out in a cavitating liquid jet apparatus according to ASTM G134-95 standard [12], on base materials and on weld overlays. The mass loss has been followed by weighting frequently during the exposure time. The mean depth of erosion (MDE), the mean depth erosion rate (MDER) and the maximum depth of erosion (MaxDE) are determined and compared for these materials. Simultaneously, the evolution of the eroded surface is followed by optical profilometry technique to give clues about the erosion mechanisms.

c 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd

25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

2. Materials and experimental procedures


2.1 Material properties In the present study, six different materials have been tested: one martensitic stainless steel (S41500), two quenched and tempered high strength steels (S690QL and S550QL), one welded austenitic stainless steel (EC308LSi) and two welded high strength steels (DS T-115 and DS 110). These kinds of materials have been chosen because they are or they will be used for hydraulic turbines runners. The chemical composition and the mechanical properties of the different tested materials are presented in Table 1 and Table 2. Table 1 Chemical composition of tested materials (wt %)
C S41500 S690QL S550QL EC308LSi DS T-115 DS 110 0.01 0.176 0.169 0.02 0.063 0.065 Si 0.46 0.25 0.28 0.085 0.45 0.48 Mn 0.84 1.3 1.28 1.5 1.6 1.7 P 0.021 0.012 0.012 0.02 0.03 0.04 S 0.004 0.001 0.0007 0.01 0.01 0.01 Cr 12.2 0.67 0.31 20.5 0.16 0.04 Ni 4.6 0.21 0.06 10.1 1.2 1.3 Mo 0.61 0.3 0.2 0.25 0.27 0.31 V 0.001 0.001 0.01 0.02 Ti 0.003 0.001 0.01 0.07 Cu 0.029 0.023 0.2 0.04 0.06 Al 0.078 0.078 0.01 0.01 Nb 0.023 0.03 0.01 0.02 B 0.002 0.0018 0.0006 0.0008 N 0.005 0.004 -

Table 2 Mechanical properties of tested materials Yield strength (MPa) 705 830 720 420 761 760 Ultimate strength (MPa) 840 890 780 550 875 830 Elongation (%) 23 16 18 42 20 19 Vickers hardness 286 295 247 192 302 285

S41500 S690QL S550QL EC308LSi DS T-115 DS 110

(a) S41500

(b) S690QL

(c) S550QL

(d) EC308LSi

(e) DS T-115 Fig. 1 Optical micrograph (500x) of the materials.

(f) DS 110

25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

Figure 1(a) represents the microstructure of S41500, 13% chromium - 4% nickel martensitic stainless steel with improved toughness and good corrosion resistance to fresh water. It has been quenched after a 950 C heat treatment. This steel cannot be used with the brittle martensitic structure. A tempering treatment has been performed at 600 C. The resulting microstructure consists in a single martensitic phase with a small amount of retained austenite for a Vickers hardness of 286. Figure 1(b) and 1(c) present the micrographs of S690QL and S550QL, low alloyed steels quenched and tempered at 550C for 1h. The difference between the two grades is a larger amount of alloying elements in the case of S690QL, which improves the hardenability and brings the yield strength to 830 MPa. For both, grain size is sensibly the same and the microstructure consists mainly of tempered martensite. Vickers hardness is of 247 and 295, respectively for S550QL and S690QL. In Fig.1(d) we can observe the microstructure of EC308LSi, a high chromium - nickel austenitic stainless steel commonly used to repair cavitation damages occurring in hydraulic turbines. It is provided in solid wire electrode. The microstructure consists on an austenite solidification structure with some delta ferrite. The alloy content allows an increase resistance to corrosion and heat. DS T-115 and DS 110 micrographs are presented in Fig. 1(e) and 1(f). These materials are flux cored electrodes (AWS A5.29 E110 classification) designed for welding high strength steels. Although the compositions are relatively the same, the microstructure is a bit different. The solidification structure is finer in the case of DS T-115. They consist both of a fine mixture of martensite and bainite. We must notice the high (285 - 302) Vickers hardness for both. 2.2 Experimental procedure To prepare the welded samples, gas metal arc welding (GMAW) technique was employed. For convenience, EC308LSi was deposited on SUS304 base material whereas DS T-115 and DS 110 were deposited on ASTM A36 25 mm steel plates. As welded materials were overlaid with 10 mm in thickness, the mechanical properties of base materials are here neglected. Cavitation samples of 25.4 mm x 25.4 mm x 19 mm were machined for each material with a milling finished. Cavitation liquid jet erosion tests were carried out in a test chamber filled with tap water at a constant upstream pressure of 23.8 MPa (the corresponding velocity was 218 m/s), at a liquid temperature of 22 C, and at a cavitation number of 0.013 (the downstream pressure was 0.21 MPa). It must be noted that these parameters were optimized to get a 1000 mg / h mass loss rate on Al6061T6 reference sample. The stand-off distance between the nozzle outlet and the test specimen was 15 mm. The experimental apparatus is shown in Fig. 2 and Fig. 3.

Fig. 2 Schematic representation of the cavitating liquid jet apparatus.

Fig. 3 3D representation of the jet nozzle.

Each test was performed for a total of 150 minutes exposure time (5 periods of 30 min). After each cavitation period, the sample is cleaned in a methanol ultrasonic bath, dried and weighted. The topography of the surface is determined by optical profilometry technique. A series of 3 tests for each sample is done. The mean values are calculated.

25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

3. Experimental results and discussion


3.1 Erosion resistance Fig. 4 and Fig. 5 show the mean cumulative depth of erosion (MDE) and mean cumulative depth of erosion rate (MDER) curves obtained from cavitation erosion tests for S41500, S690QL and S550QL compared to a classical low carbon steel A516. Since densities of the materials are slightly different, it is more accurate to express the tests results by MDE, which is the mass loss divided by the material density and the eroded area (evaluated by image analysis at each step). The MDE curves of all materials pass through a period where the erosion rates are low, followed by an increase to a maximum erosion rate at 60 min for high strength steels and 90 min for martensitic stainless steels and a decrease to lower erosion rate. The first period, called the incubation period, has been defined as the value obtained from the intersection of a straight extension line of the maximum rate period, the maximum slope, with the time axis on the MDE curves. These periods for S690QL and S41500 are 16-19 min, which are about 4 to 5 times longer than for S550QL (which is 4 min). The maximum erosion rates of the MDER curves are 123 and 142 m/h for, respectively S690QL and S550QL whereas it is 87 m/h for S41500. Moreover the maximum erosion rates for high strength steels are between 28 to 38 % lower than the one of classical carbon steel (197 m/h) and the maximum erosion rate of S41500 is 66 % lower than the one of A516. If we compare the MDE, after 150 min test S550QL, S690QL and S41500 reach respectively 259 m, 246 m and 201 m values which are nearly half of A516 value. These results are in accordance with the high mechanical properties of such steels. It is therefore seen and confirmed that martensite microstructure gives to theses materials a good cavitation erosion resistance [11]. Fig. 6 and Fig. 7 show the MDE and MDER curves for weld overlays materials.

Fig. 4 MDE curves for base materials.

Fig. 5 MDER curves for base materials.

Fig. 6 MDE curves for welding overlay materials.

Fig. 7 MDER curves for welding overlay materials.

25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

The curves show incubation periods about 14-17 min for all tested materials. The maximum erosion rate is reached in 60 min for DS 110 whereas it is reached in 90 min for DS T-115 and EC308LSi. The maximum erosion rate of the MDER curves is 110 m/h for DS 110 whereas it is 98 m/h for DS T-115 and EC308LSi. Hence, the maximum erosion rates for weld overlays materials are from 45 to 51% lower than the one of classical carbon steels. If we compare the MDE, after 150 min of test DS 110, DS T-115 and EC308LSi reach respectively 224 m, 213 m and 211 m values which are nearly the half of A516 MDE value. This behavior is also in accordance with the mechanical properties of materials. The higher cavitation erosion resistance of softer austenitic stainless steel EC308LSi is related to high ductility and strain hardening and to induced martensitic transformation of this alloy [13]. Moreover, we can notice that for high strength steels cavitation erosion resistance of weld overlays is higher than for base materials. Fig. 8 shows the comparison of cavitation erosion resistance for all tested materials. The cavitation erosion resistance is defined as the inverse of the maximum value of MDER.

Fig. 8 Comparative table of cavitation erosion resistance. 3.2 Surface evolution and of quenched and tempered high strength steels The surface profiles were determined at several time periods of the test. The measures were made with an optical profilometer with a lateral resolution (x ; y) of 2 m and a Z-resolution of 280 nm. Figure 7 gives an example of the surface evolution of S550QL during the erosion periods.

a) 0 min

b) 30 min

25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

c) 60 min

d) 90 min

e) 120 min f) 150 min Fig. 9 Evolution with time of the S550QL eroded surface. At t=30 min we can observe a swelled part near the eroded ring. This deformation corresponds to the cumulated plastic deformation on the material surface due to shock waves and micro-jets produced by the bubble collapses. At t = 60 min, erosion depths reaching 700 m start to appear. In these figures we can observe an heterogeneity of the erosion depth. At the end of the test, whereas the calculated MDE is of 259 m, the observed MaxDE (maximum depth of erosion) is around 1270 m. For S550QL the evolution of MDE and MaxDE with time is shown Fig. 10. We can observe that after the incubation period, there is a good correlation between MDE and MaxDE. In this case, MaxDE is 5 times higher than MDE. Correlation factors between MaxDE and MeanDE are presented in Table 3 for each material after 150 min of cavitation erosion. As S415, S690QL and S550QL are laminated steels, the erosion process is supposed be homogenous on the surface. As the position of the most eroded areas are nearly the same for all cases, the observed heterogeneity can be attributed to a deviation of the cavitating jet resulting in more aggressive cavitation areas in the jet. However, this kind of aggressiveness variation can also be observed in hydraulic turbines.

25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

MDE150min (m) S41500 S690QL S550QL EC308LSi DS T-115 DS 110 201 246 259 211 213 224

MaxDE150min (m) 1080 1350 1270 1160 1320 1340

Correlation factor 5.4 5.5 4.9 5.5 6.2 6

Fig. 10 Relation between MaxDE and MDE for S550QL. 3.3 Morphologies of damages surfaces

Table 3 Correlation factor between MaxDE and MDE after 150 min of cavitation erosion test.

Fig. 11 shows the micrographs of cavitated surface for each kind of materials after 150 min. Whereas the materials microstructures and the cavitation erosion resistance are different, on these pictures it seems that there are no obvious differences on damaged surfaces. We can observe that the effect of the impacts induced by bubbles collapses took the form of crater and hollows on grains. This characteristic suggests that the erosion was mainly controlled by ductile fracture. We also see the presence of deep cracks between the grains. It seems to be more pronounced on S550QL and less on EC308LSi.

(a) S41500

(b) S690QL

(c) S550QL

(d) EC308LSi (e) DS T-115 (f) DS 110 Fig. 11 SEM micrographs of eroded surface after 150 min of cavitation erosion. Fig. 12 shows the cross section of eroded surface after 150 min of cavitation erosion. Cracks initiated from the surface could be observed. For both tested samples, the fracture mainly begins from surface. However, we can notice that some cracks are detectable under the surface, particularly for S690QL and S550QL. We can also see that for martensitic stainless steel and for quenched and tempered high strength steel the cracks propagate perpendicularly to the cavitated surface along the former austenite grain boundaries. These boundaries represent the weak point of martensitic materials. In Fig. 10(c) we can observe a significative deformation of the surface

25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

before the crack propagates. Contrarily, for DS T-115, cracks propagate perpendicularly to the surface but transgranularly. Thus, the homogeneity of the microstructure and the absence of weak austenite grain boundaries allow this fracture mechanism.

(a) S41500

(b) S690QL

(c) S550QL (d) DS T-115 Fig. 12 SEM micrographs of cavitation sample cross section after 150 min of test.

4. Conclusions
(1) The cavitation erosion resistance of one austenitic stainless steel, one martensitic stainless steel and four quenched and tempered high strength steels has been measured in cavitation liquid jet tests. The ranking of tested steels in term of erosion resistance is S41500 > S690QL > S550QL for base materials and EC308LSi DS T-115> DS 110 for welding materials. (2) The maximum erosion rates of these steels are between 28% (S550QL) and 65% (S41500) lower than for carbon steel (ASTM A516). (3) For all these materials, the degradation is mainly controlled by a ductile fracture mechanism. Some evidence of formation of wider cracks during cavitation erosion tests has been enlightened for S550QL and DS T- 115. (4) The cracks initiated from the surface propagate along the former austenite grain boundaries in S41500, S690QL and S550QL. In DS T-115 the cracks propagates according a transgranular mechanism.

Acknowledgments
The author wishes to express his gratitude to Alexandre Lapointe, technologist at Hydro-Qubec, for his meticulous experimental work and Raynald Simoneau, former scientist of Hydro-Qubec, for his help and his numerous advices.

25th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 12 (2010) 012052

IOP Publishing doi:10.1088/1755-1315/12/1/012052

References
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