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A micromechanical analysis of intergranular stress corrosion cracking of an irradiated austenitic stainless steel

Abstract : Irradiation Assisted Stress Corrosion Cracking (IASCC) is a material degradation phenomenon affecting austenitic stainless steels used in nuclear Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR), leading to the initiation and propagation of intergranular cracks. Such phenomenon belongs to the broader class of InterGranular Stress Corrosion Cracking (IGSCC). A micromechanical analysis of IGSCC of an irradiated austenitic stainless steel is performed in this study to assess local cracking conditions. A 304L proton irradiated sample tested in PWR environment and showing intergranular cracking is investigated. Serial sectioning, Electron BackScatter Diffraction (EBSD) and a two-step misalignment procedure are performed to reconstruct the 3D microstructure over an extended volume, to assess statistically cracking criteria. A methodology is also developed to compute Grain Boundary (GB) normal orientations based on the EBSD measurements. The statistical analysis shows that cracking occurs preferentially for GB normals aligned with the mechanical loading axis, but also for low values of the Luster-Morris slip transmission parameter. Micromechanical simulations based on the reconstructed 3D microstructure, FFT-based solver and crystal plasticity constitutive equations modified to account for slip transmission at grain boundaries are finally performed. These simulations rationalize the correlation obtained experimentally into a single stress-based criterion. The actual strengths and weaknesses of such micromechanical approach are discussed.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 9, 2022 - 7:31:36 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, August 14, 2022 - 3:21:35 AM

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Disen Liang, Jeremy Hure, Arnaud Courcelle, Samir El Shawish, Benoît Tanguy. A micromechanical analysis of intergranular stress corrosion cracking of an irradiated austenitic stainless steel. Acta Materialia, Elsevier, 2021, pp.116482. ⟨10.1016/j.actamat.2020.116482⟩. ⟨cea-03748671⟩

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