Stress-Rupture Characterization in Nickel-Based Superalloy Gas Turbine Engine Components
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Today’s gas turbine engines utilize high volume fraction gamma prime (γ′) strengthened alloys for turbine airfoils, which typically operate at temperatures greater than ∼0.5T m of the alloy. At these temperatures and at stresses below yield, time-dependent deformation (creep) of the airfoil can occur and, if left unabated, can result in complete separation of the airfoil. This process is commonly referred to as stress rupture. Insufficient cooling air, unintentional interruptions of cooling air as well as abnormal engine operating conditions are typical causes of stress-rupture failures in gas turbine blade components. Stress-rupture fractures are generally heavily oxidized, tend to be rough in texture, and are primarily intergranular and/or interdendritic in appearance compared to smoother, transgranular fatigue type fractures. Often, gross plastic yielding is visible on a macroscopic scale. Commonly observed microstructural characteristics include creep voiding along grain boundaries and/or interdendritic regions. Internal voids can also nucleate at carbides and other microconstituents, especially in single crystal castings that do not possess grain boundaries. Other signs of overtemperature include partial resolutioning of the γ′ strengthening precipitates, with the remaining volume fraction of γ′ commonly used to estimate blade metal temperatures. This article highlights the visual, fractographic, and metallographic characteristics typically encountered when analyzing stress rupture of turbine airfoils.
KeywordsGas turbine Nickel-based superalloy Creep Stress-rupture Gamma prime (γ′) Grain boundaries Interdendritic and creep voiding
The authors thank Mr. Warren King of GE-Energy, Dr. Brian Gieseke, Mr. Michael Mulkey, Mr. Roger Wustman, and Mr. Andrew Powell of GE-Aviation for contributions to this article.
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