Thermomechanical fatigue behavior of the directionally-solidified nickel-base superalloy CM247LC
Kupkovits, Robert Anthony
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Due to the extreme operating conditions present in the combustion sections of gas turbines, designers have relied heavily on specialized engineering materials. For blades, which must retain substantial strength and resistance to fatigue, creep, and corrosion at high temperatures, directionally-solidified (DS) nickel-base superalloys have been used extensively. Complex thermomechanical loading histories makes life prediction for such components difficult and subjective. Costly product inspection and refurbishment, as well as capital expense required in turbine forced outage situations, are significant drains on the resources of turbine producers. This places a premium on accurate endurance prediction as the foundation of viable long-term service contracts with customers. In working towards that end, this work characterizes the behavior of the blade material CM247LC DS subjected to a variety of in-phase (IP) and out-of phase (OP) loading cycles in the presence of notch stress concentrations. The material response to multiaxial notch effects, highly anisotropic material behavior, time-dependent deformation, and waveform and temperature cycle characteristics is presented. The active damage mechanisms influencing crack initiation are identified through extensive microscopy as a function of these parameters. This study consisted of an experimental phase as well as a numerical modeling phase. The first involved conducting high temperature thermomechanical fatigue (TMF) tests on both smooth and notched round-bar specimens to compile experimental results. Tests were conducted on longitudinal and transverse material grain orientations. Damage is characterized and conclusions drawn in light of fractography and microscopy. The influences of microstructure morphology and environmental effects on crack initiation are discussed. The modeling phase utilized various finite element (FE) simulations. These included an anisotropic-elastic model to capture the purely elastic notch response, and a continuum-based crystal visco-plastic model developed specifically to compute the material response of a DS Ni-base superalloy based on microstructure and orientation dependencies. These FE simulations were performed to predict and validate experimental results, as well as identify the manifestation of damage mechanisms resulting from thermomechanical fatigue. Finally, life predictions using simple and complex analytical modeling methods are discussed for predicting component life at various stages of the design process.