Abstract

Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) behavior is a matter of concern for structural materials, namely, stainless steels and nickel alloys, in nuclear power plants. High levels of cold work (CW) have shown to both reduce crack initiation times and increase crack growth rates. Cold working has numerous effects on a material, including changes in microstructure, mechanical properties, and residual stress state, yet it is typically reported as a simple percent change in geometry. There is need to develop a strategy for quantitative assessment of cold-work level in order to better understand stress corrosion cracking test data. Five assessment techniques, commonly performed alongside stress corrosion cracking testing (optical microscopy (OM), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), X-ray diffraction (XRD), tensile testing, and hardness testing) are evaluated with respect to their ability to quantify the level of CW in a component. The test material is stainless steel 316L that has been cold-rolled to three conditions: 0%, 20%, and 30% CW. Measurement results for each assessment method include correlation with CW condition and repeatability data. Measured values showed significant spatial variation, illustrating that CW level is not uniform throughout a component. Mechanical properties (tensile testing, hardness) were found to correlate most linearly with the amount of imparted CW.

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