Sigma phase embrittlement-induced failures of heat-resistant stainless steel traveling grate links

Kishore, Kaushal and Kushwaha, S and Teja, K S P and Chandan, A K and Mukherjee, M and Adhikary, M and Kumar, A (2022) Sigma phase embrittlement-induced failures of heat-resistant stainless steel traveling grate links. Engineering Failure Analysis, 144 .

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Traveling grates (TG) are used as beds over which green pellets are subjected to a series of thermal cycles, namely preheating, induration, and firing to make the pellets suitable for charging in the blast furnaces of an integrated steel plant. In this work, chronic failures of TG links after a service life of 2.5-3 years are investigated. A comparative analysis of failed, used and new TG links was carried out. Fractography of the failed link revealed an intergranular brittle fracture near the surface followed by a transgranular fracture with a signature of decohesion in the bulk of the fracture surface. Microstructural analysis revealed the presence of pre-existing grain boundary chromium carbides (Cr23C6) in the new (unused) link, which can facilitate easy crack initiation and propagation. Furthermore, failed and used TG link revealed the presence of extensive precipitation of needle-like sigma phase confirmed by a combination of X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy techniques. Such precipitation of the sigma phase occurs during exposure to a susceptible high-temperature range. The presence of the sigma phase is known to embrittle the austenitic stainless steel and such embrittlement is confirmed by a significant increase in hardness and decrease in Charpy impact toughness of failed and used TG links compared to the new TG link. Thermodynamic and kinetic simulations confirmed a high susceptibility of the existing alloy composition to extensive sigma phase precipitation in a wide temperature range. A new alloy composition with higher nickel (similar to 30 wt%) and free from tungsten is proposed to reduce the susceptibility towards in-service embrittlement induced by sigma phase precipitation.

Item Type:Article
Official URL/DOI:https://10.1016/j.engfailanal.2022.106979
Uncontrolled Keywords:High-temperature failures, sigma phase, embrittlement, stainless steel, brittle fracture, corrosion, sensitization, deformation, reduction, basicity, hydrogen, behavior ,cracks, weld
Divisions:Material Science and Technology
ID Code:9332
Deposited By:HOD KRIT
Deposited On:30 Jan 2023 14:46
Last Modified:16 May 2024 15:42
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