Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Investigation of Stress Corrosion Cracking in Nickel-Base Alloys (NUREG/CR-7103, Volume 2)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: February 2012
Date Published:
April 2012

Prepared by:
S. M. Bruemmer, M. B. Toloczko and M. J. Olszta

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
P.O. Box 999
Richland, WA 99352

Darrell Dunn, NRC Project Manager

NRC Job Code N6841

Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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The objective of this program is to evaluate the primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC) susceptibility of high chromium alloy 690 and its weld metals, establish quantitative measurements of crack-growth rates and determine relationships among cracking susceptibility, environmental conditions and metallurgical characteristics. Stress-corrosion, crack-growth rates have been determined for 12 alloy 690 specimens, 11 alloy 152/52/52M weld metal specimens, 4 alloy 52M/182 overlay specimens and 2 alloy 52M/82 inlay specimens in simulated PWR primary water environments. The alloy 690 test materials included three different heats of extruded control-rod-drive mechanism (CRDM) tubing with variations in the initial material condition and degree of cold work for one heat. Two cold-rolled (CR) alloy 690 plate heats were also obtained and evaluated enabling comparisons to the CR CRDM materials. Weld metal, overlay and inlay specimens were machined from industry mock ups to provide plant representative materials for testing. Specimens have been tested for one alloy 152 weld, two alloy 52 welds and three alloy 52M welds. The overlay and inlay specimens were prepared to propagate stress-corrosion cracks from the alloy 182 or 82 material into the more resistant alloy 52M. In all cases, crack extension was monitored in situ by direct current potential drop (DCPD) with length resolution of about ±1 µm making it possible to measure extremely low growth rates approaching 5x10-10 mm/s. Most SCC tests were performed at 325-360°C with hydrogen concentrations from 11-29 cc/kg; however, environmental conditions were modified during a few experiments to evaluate the influence of temperature, water chemistry or electrochemical potential on propagation rates. In addition, low-temperature(~50°C) cracking behavior was examined for selected alloy 690 and weld metal specimens. Extensive characterizations have been performed on material microstructures and stress-corrosion cracks by optical and electron microscopy techniques and linked to crack-growth test results to help define material and environmental parameters controlling SCC susceptibility.

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