Thermomechanical fatigue crack formation in a single crystal Ni-base superalloy
Amaro, Robert L.
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This research establishes a physics-based life determination model for the second generation single crystal superalloy PWA 1484 experiencing out-of-phase thermomechanical fatigue (TMF). The life model was developed as a result of a combination of critical mechanical tests, dominant damage characterization and utilization of well-established literature. The resulting life model improves life prediction over currently employed methods and provides for extrapolation into yet unutilized operating regimes. Particularly, the proposed deformation model accounts for the materials' coupled fatigue-environment-microstructure response to TMF loading. Because the proposed model is be based upon the underlying deformation physics, the model is robust enough to be easily modified for other single crystal superalloys having similar microstructure. Future use of this model for turbine life estimation calculations would be based upon the actual deformation experienced by the turbine blade, thereby enabling turbine maintenance scheduling based upon on a "retirement for a cause" life management scheme rather than the currently employed "safe-life" calculations. This advancement has the ability to greatly reduce maintenance costs to the turbine end-user since turbine blades would be removed from service for practical and justifiable reasons. Additionally this work will enable a rethinking of the warranty period, thereby decreasing warranty related replacements. Finally, this research provides a more thorough understanding of the deformation mechanisms present in loading situations that combine fatigue-environment-microstructure effects.