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FAILURE

(Environmental Fracture)
James Marrow
Manchester
Materials Science
Centre
Environment Assisted Cracking 2
Environmental Assisted Cracking
Example of EAC
Hydrogen assisted
fatigue of a
compressed hydrogen
storage tank.
Environment Assisted Cracking 3
Stress Corrosion Cracking
Example:

Failure of austenitic
stainless steel roof
supports.
Cause?
Environment Assisted Cracking 4
Stress Corrosion Cracking
Chloride SCC of
Austenitic Stainless
Steels

Requires:
Stress
Corrosive Environment
Susceptible Material
Note the typical branching crack character of SCC
Environment Assisted Cracking 5
Stress Corrosion Cracking
Anodic Mechanism
Cracking encouraged
when chemical
conditions are on the
borderline between
activity and passivity.

Accelerated anodic
dissolution before
crack tip repassivates
Requires plastic strain to disrupt passive film
Environment Assisted Cracking 6
Hydrogen Embrittlement
Example:

Blistering and cracking
of electroplated steel.
Environment Assisted Cracking 7
Hydrogen Embrittlement
Hydrogen assisted
cleavage of steels
Hydrogen reduces
critical tensile stress for
cleavage.

This shifts the BDTT to
higher temperature.

Hydrogen also embrittles other materials, including magnesium alloys,
zirconium alloys, intermetallics and ceramics.
Environment Assisted Cracking 8
Mechanisms of EAC
Cracking of high
strength steel

Hydrogen crack
initiated at a corrosion
pit
To reduce the risk of hydrogen embrittlement.
Avoid: Hydrogen
Susceptible Materials
Stress Concentrators and local plastic deformation
Environment Assisted Cracking 9
Mechanisms of EAC
Cracking of high
strength steel
Hydrogen diffuses to
the hydrostatic tensile
stress maximum ahead
of crack tip.
Cracking rate depends
on transport of atomic
hydrogen
Cracking rate influenced by chemical kinetics and stress concentration
Cracking threshold depends on stress and hydrogen concentration
Environment Assisted Cracking 10
Hydrogen Assisted Cracking
H (atomic hydrogen)
produced by corrosion
e.g.


Or


Then
Examples:
Oxygen-free neutral
water (Cooling water
systems)
Hydrolysis of corrosion
products (pits and
crevices)

2H 2OH 2e O 2H
-
2

2e 8H O Fe O 4H 3Fe
4 3 2
2
ad
2H 2e 2H

Cracking tends to be
branched and can be
confused with anodic SCC
Environment Assisted Cracking 11
Environment Assisted Cracking
Static Fatigue
Stage 1:
da/dt=AK
n

Stage 2:
Reaction rate limit.
(affected by crack size,
shape and environment
Stage 3:
K
1C
approached.
K
da/dt
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Log axes
Stress corrosion cracking
K
1SCC

Environment Assisted Cracking 12
Environment Assisted Cracking
Corrosion Fatigue

Acceleration of
cracking and reduction
of threshold.
Decreasing strain rate
increases
environmental effect.
DK
da/dN
Air
Log axes
Environment
True corrosion fatigue
Environment Assisted Cracking 13
Environment Assisted Cracking
Corrosion Fatigue

Acceleration of
cracking above K
1SCC
.
Decreasing strain rate
increases
environmental effect.
DK
da/dN
Air
Log axes
Stress corrosion fatigue
Environment
K
max
>K
1SCC

Environment Assisted Cracking 14
Case Study: EAC
Cracking of Brass
(Season Cracking)

Cracking caused by
ammoniac environment
and residual stress
Environment Assisted Cracking 15
Case Study: EAC
Cracking of Brass
Cracking is intergranular
Environment Assisted Cracking 16
Case Study: EAC
Cracking of Brass





4OH NH Zn NH Cu
O 2H O 8NH Zn Cu
2
4 3
2
4 3
2 2 3
Anodic dissolution of metal

4OH 4e O 2H O
2 2
Cathodic reaction
Soluble reaction product, and concentration of Cu and Zn ions does not rise
So the reaction does is not stifled by polarisation
Environment Assisted Cracking 17
Case Study: EAC
Cracking of Brass
(cont.)

Grain boundaries are
anodic to grains due to
segregation of Zn

Large Cathode and
small Anode

Dissolution at
grain boundaries
leads to stress
concentration and
stress corrosion
cracking
Crack growth rate depends on the
current density of the anodic
reaction at the crack tip
Environment Assisted Cracking 18
Tests for EAC
Static Tests
e.g. bolt loaded
Dynamic Tests
e.g. slow strain rate
Tests material for service
environment, or using severe
environment can rank materials for
resistance
Very severe
test for ranking
materials
Environment Assisted Cracking 19
Tests for EAC
Static Tests

Dynamic Tests

Time
Stress Stress
Strain
Tensile Data (air)
Slow strain rate test
in environment
s
scc

Environment Assisted Cracking 20
Summary.
Environment can enable failure.
Failure can require both crack initiation
and crack propagation. These may be
influenced differently by environment.

Many service failures are caused by
residual stress.