Phase-field modeling of stress-induced precipitation and kinetics in engineering metals

Sammanfattning: The formation of brittle compounds in metals operating in corrosive environments can be a tremendous source of embrittlement for industrial structures and such phenomenon is commonly enhanced in presence of stresses. To study this type of microstructural change modeling is preferred to experiment to reduce costs and prevent undesirable environmental impacts. This thesis aims at developing an engineering approach to model stress-induced precipitation, especially near stress concentrators, e.g. crack tips, for multi-phase and polycrystalline metals, with numerical efficiency.In this thesis, four phase-field models are developed and applied on stress-induced hydride precipitation in zirconium and titanium alloys. The energy of the system is minimized through the time-dependent Ginzburg-Landau equation, which provides insights to the kinetics of the phenomenon. In these models, the driving force for precipitation is the coupling between the applied stress and the phase transformation-induced dilatation of the system. Models 1-3 implicitly incorporate near crack-tip stress fields by using linear elastic fracture mechanics so that only the phase-field equation is solved numerically with the finite volume method, reducing the computational costs. Phase transformation is investigated for intragranular, intergranular and interphase cracks in single- and two-phase materials by considering isotropy and some degrees of anisotropy, grain/phase boundary energy, different transition orders and solid solubility limit. Model 4 allows representing anisotropy connected to lattice mismatch and the orientation of the precipitates influenced by the applied stress. The model is employed through the finite element program Abaqus, where the fully coupled thermo-mechanical solving method is applied to the coupled mechanical/phase-field problem. Hydride growth is observed to follow the near-crack tip hydrostatic stress contours and can reach a steady state for specific conditions. The relation between hydride formation kinetics and material properties, and stress relaxation are well-reflected in the results.With the presented approaches, precipitation kinetics including different kinds of defects, multi-phase microstructures, phase/grain boundaries, order transitions and loading modes can be successfully captured with low computational costs. They could therefore contribute to the numerical efficiency of multi-scale environment-assisted embrittlement prediction schemes within commercial software serving engineering projects.