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On the origin of extraordinary cyclic strengthening of the austenitic stainless steel Sanicro 25 during fatigue at 700 °C

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 August 2017

Milan Heczko*
Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43212, USA; and Institute of Physics of Materials, CAS, Brno 61662, Czech Republic
Bryan D. Esser
Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43212, USA
Timothy M. Smith
NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44135, USA
Přemysl Beran
Nuclear Physics Institute, CAS, Řež near Prague 25068, Czech Republic
Veronika Mazánová
Institute of Physics of Materials, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno 61662, Czech Republic
Tomáš Kruml
Institute of Physics of Materials, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno 61662, Czech Republic
Jaroslav Polák
Institute of Physics of Materials, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno 61662, Czech Republic
Michael J. Mills
Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43212, USA
a)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
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The origin of the extraordinary strengthening of the highly alloyed austenitic stainless steel Sanicro 25 during cyclic loading at 700 °C was investigated by the use of advanced scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). Along with substantial change of the dislocation structure, nucleation of two distinct populations of nanoparticles was revealed. Fully coherent Cu-rich nanoparticles were observed to be homogeneously dispersed with high number density along with nanometer-sized incoherent NbC carbides precipitating on dislocations during cyclic loading. Probe-corrected high-angle annular dark-field STEM imaging was used to characterize the atomic structure of nanoparticles. Compositional analysis was conducted using both electron energy loss spectroscopy and high spatial resolution energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. High-temperature exposure-induced precipitation of spatially dense coherent Cu-rich nanoparticles and strain-induced nucleation of incoherent NbC nanoparticles leads to retardation of dislocation movement. The pinning effects and associated obstacles to the dislocation motion prevent recovery and formation of the localized low-energy cellular structures. As a consequence, the alloy exhibits remarkable cyclic hardening at elevated temperatures.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2017 

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Contributing Editor: Lei Lu



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