Loading frequency and microstructure interactions in intergranular fatigue crack growth in a disk Ni-based superalloy

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The paper examines the role of the loading frequency on the dwell fatigue crack growth mechanism in the super-solvus nickel-based superalloy, ME3. This is accomplished by carrying out a set of crack growth experiments in air and vacuum at three temperatures; 650 C, 704 C and 760 C using a dwell loading cycle with hold time periods up to 7200 s imposed at the maximum load level. Results of these tests show that the transitional transgranular/intergranular loading frequency is 0.1 Hz, and are used to determine the apparent activation energy of the time-dependent crack growth process. Analysis of this energy in both air and vacuum showed that the intergranular cracking is governed by a mechanism involving grain boundary sliding. This mechanism is explained in terms of absorption of dissociated lattice dislocations into grain boundary dislocations. The gliding of these dislocations under shear loading is assumed to cause grain boundary sliding. A condition for this mechanism to occur, is that a critical minimum distance exists between slip bands impinging the affected grain boundary. This condition is examined by correlating the slip band spacing (SBS) and loading frequency using a model based on minimum strain energy accumulation within slip bands and that a unique configuration of number and spacing of bands exists for a given plastic strain. The model outcome expressed in terms of SBS as a function of loading frequency is supported by experimental measurements at both high and low loading frequencies. Results of the model show that a saturation of SBS, signifying a condition for intergranualr cracking, is reached at approximately 3 μm which is shown to coincide with the transitional loading frequency of 0.1 Hz. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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International Journal of Fatigue