Stress Corrosion Cracking and Crack Tip Characterization of Alloy X-750 in Light Water Reactor Environments
Author(s)Gibbs, Jonathan Paul; Ballinger, Ronald; Ballinger, Ronald
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nuclear Systems Enhanced Performance Program
MetadataShow full item record
Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) susceptibility of Inconel Alloy X-750 in the HTH condition has been evaluated in high purity water at 93 and 288°C under Boiling Water Reactor Normal Water Chemistry (NWC) and Hydrogen Water Chemistry (HWC) conditions. SCC crack growth rates of approximately 1.1x10-7 mm/s (K=28 MPa√m) under NWC conditions and 1.4x10-8 mm/s (K=28 MPa√m) under HWC in high purity water at 288°C were observed. The environmental conditions were changed from NWC to HWC during constant K loading, and the crack growth rate immediately slowed down by approximately one order of magnitude. The alloy was also tested in HWC at 93°C. No SCC crack growth was observed at K= 35 MPa√m for the length of time tested at 93°C. The fracture mode transitioned from predominantly transgranular cracking under fatigue conditions to a mixture of intergranular, pseudo-intergranular, and a small amount of transgranular fracture in constant stress intensity SCC. Pseudo-intergranular cracking is when a crack propagates directly adjacent to the grain boundary carbides and not actually on the grain boundary. The SCC crack tips were characterized with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and 3D Atom Probe Tomography (APT). The SEM analysis was focused on the fractographic analysis and crackpropagation mode. The crack was observed to propagate adjacent to grain boundary carbides (pseudo-intergranular) and along a boundary with high coherency where no carbides were present (intergranular). The small and localized areas of transgranular cracking were occasionally seen between two regions of intergranular cracking. The APT reconstructions of the crack tips and crack wall identified several key features contributing to the SCC process: 1) Preferential oxygen transport occurs in either a finger-like or crystallographic morphology extending from the crack tip region. These regions are enriched in both oxygen and oxide with the oxide being a chromium-nickel spinel. 2) The matrix ahead of each finger-like “tunnel” is enriched in oxygen and predominantly chromium oxide. This indicates that oxygen is diffusing ahead of the crack tip into the bulk material. 3) The oxygen that penetrates directly into the base material from the crack walls in an ordered manner suggests that it is controlled by crystallographic features. 4) The main SCC crack tip is full of predominantly oxide phase and, to a lesser extent, metal atoms. The very crack tip forms a spinel of chromium and nickel oxides. Iron oxide begins to contribute to the oxide spinel approximately 25-30 nm from the actual tip. 5) The γ’ precipitates that are directly adjacent to each crack tip and crack wall were deficient in aluminum content. The aluminum content in the bulk γ ’ was approximately 6.6 at % and the near-crack γ ’ aluminum content ranged from 2.5-3.5 at %. The range of affected γ ’ was approximately 100 nm wide.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems. Nuclear Systems Enhanced Performance Program