High-Temperature Behaviour of Austenitic Alloys : Influence of Temperature and Strain Rate on Mechanical Properties and Microstructural Development

Sammanfattning: The global increase in energy consumption and the global warming from greenhouse gas emission creates the need for more environmental friendly energy production processes. Biomass power plants with higher efficiency could generate more energy but also reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, e.g. CO2. Biomass is the largest global contributor to renewable energy and offers no net contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere. One way to increase the efficiency of the power plants is to increase temperature and pressure in the boiler parts of the power plant.The materials used for the future biomass power plants, with higher temperature and pressure, require improved properties, such as higher yield strength, creep strength and high-temperature corrosion resistance. Austenitic stainless steels and nickel-base alloys have shown good mechanical and chemical properties at the operation temperatures of today’s biomass power plants. However, the performance of austenitic stainless steels at the future elevated temperatures is not fully understood.The aim of this licentiate thesis is to increase our knowledge about the mechanical performance of austenitic stainless steels at the demanding conditions of the new generation power plants. This is done by using slow strain rate tensile deformation at elevated temperature and long term hightemperature ageing together with impact toughness testing. Microscopy is used to investigate deformation, damage and fracture behaviours during slow deformation and the long term influence of temperature on toughness in the microstructure of these austenitic alloys. Results show that the main deformation mechanisms are planar dislocation deformations, such as planar slip and slip bands. Intergranular fracture may occur due to precipitation in grain boundaries both in tensile deformed and impact toughness tested alloys. The shape and amount of σ-phase precipitates have been found to strongly influence the fracture behaviour of some of the austenitic stainless steels. In addition, ductility is affected differently by temperature depending on alloy tested and dynamic strain ageing may not always lead to a lower ductility.