Creep-induced cavitation is an important failure mechanism in steel components operating at high temperature. Robust techniques are required to observe and quantify creep cavitation. In this paper, the use of two complementary analysis techniques: small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), and quantitative metallography, using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), is reported. The development of creep cavities that is accumulated under uniaxial load has been studied as a function of creep strain and life fraction, by carrying out interrupted tests on two sets of creep test specimens that are prepared from a Type-316H austenitic stainless steel reactor component. In order to examine the effects of pre-strain on creep damage formation, one set of specimens was subjected to a plastic pre-strain of 8%, and the other set had no pre-strain. Each set of specimens was subjected to different loading and temperature conditions, representative of those of current and future power plant operation. Cavities of up to 300 nm in size are quantified by using SANS, and their size distribution, as a function of determined creep strain. Cavitation increases significantly as creep strain increases throughout creep life. These results are confirmed by quantitative metallography analysis.
- Austenitic stainless steel
- Creep damage
- Scanning electron microscopy
- Small angle neutron scattering