Lebensdauer und Schädigungsentwicklung martensitischer Stähle für Niederdruck-Dampfturbinenschaufeln bei Ermüdungsbeanspruchung im VHCF-Bereich

  • Fatigue life and damage evolution of martensitic steels for low-pressure steam turbine blades in the VHCF regime

Kovacs, Stephan; Beck, Tilmann (Thesis advisor)

Jülich : Forschungszentrum Jülich, Zentralbibliothek, Verl. (2014)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: Schriften des Forschungszentrums Jülich : Reihe Energie & Umwelt 214
Page(s)/Article-Nr.: IV, 140 S. : Ill., graph. Darst.

Zugl.: Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2013


Low-pressure steam turbine blades are usually made of martensitic steels with Cr contents between 9 and 12%, which combine good corrosion resistance, high mechanical strength and sufficient ductility. The inhomogeneous flow field behind the vanes generates high-frequency oscillations above 1 kHz. In addition, the blades with lengths up to 1.5 m are operated at rotational speeds up to 3000 rpm, resulting in large centrifugal forces leading to the superposition of extremely high mean stresses. Also resonance oscillations during start-up and shut-down cannot be completely excluded. Currently, the components are designed using high safety factors against S-N curves with an assumed asymptotic fatigue limit above 10^7 load cycles. Nevertheless, fatigue cracks are observed even at high number of cycles, starting from the blade root without pre-damage by erosion or steam droplet impingement. While fatigue failure usually occurs at the surface, fatigue cracks at very high number of cycles (> 10^8) initiate at oxides or intermetallic inclusions below the surface. This transition between both failure mechanisms in the Very High-Cycle Fatigue (VHCF) regime is in the focus of numerous current research activities, because numbers of cycles above 10^8 can be attained in a viable period of time using the recently developed high-frequency testing techniques operated at 20 kHz. Also for wind turbines, gas turbines, bearings, springs, etc. VHCF issues become increasingly important. Within this work, the fatigue life and damage behavior of a martensitic Cr-steel during fatigue loading with and without high mean stresses at number of cycles to failure above 10^8 was analyzed. On the one hand, the studies gave insights into the relation between fatigue life and fatigue damage evolution of the investigated group of high-strength steels in the very high cycle fatigue regime (up to 2*10^9). In particular, the influence of high mean stresses on the VHCF behavior (fracture origin, crack growth, fatigue life) which was not investigated in detail before is studied and the crack initiation and propagation mechanisms are analyzed by electron microscopy (SEM, TEM / FIB). With this, the work contributes to the reliable design of future low-pressure steam turbines . The results show that in particular non-metallic inclusions in the steel cause fracture by fatigue cracks initiated in the volume under very high cycle fatigue conditions. This fatigue behavior can be described very well by means of fracture mechanics approaches over a wide range of load ratios.