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Influence du sodium liquide sur le comportement mécanique de l'acier T91

Abstract : We studied the sensitivity of T91 steel to embrittlement by liquid sodium. An experimental procedure was set up to proceed to mechanical testing in sodium under an inert atmosphere. The introduction of a liquid sodium pre-exposure step prior to mechanical testing enabled the study of both the wettability of T91 by sodium and the structure of the sodium steel/interface as a function of the exposure parameters. The mechanical properties of T91 steel are significantly reduced in liquid sodium provided the wetting conditions are good. The use of varying oxygen and hydrogen concentrations suggests that oxygen plays a major role in enhancing the wettability of T91. The sensitivity of the embrittlement to strain rate and temperature was characterized. These results showed the existence of a ductile to brittle transition depending on both parameters. Its characterization suggests that a diffusion step is the limiting rate phenomenon of this embrittlement case. TEM and EBSD analysis of arrested cracks enabled us to establish that the fracture mode is interlath or intergranular. This characteristic is coherent with the crack path commonly reported in liquid metal embrittlement. A similar procedure was applied to the unalloyed XC10 steel. The results show a behavior which is similar to the one of T91 steel and suggest a common mechanism for liquid sodium embrittlement of body centered cubic steels. Moreover, they confirm that the ductile to brittle transition seems associated with a limited crack propagation rate. The propagation is thermally activated with activation energy of about 50 kJ/mol. Finally, it was shown that 304L austenitic steel is sensitive to liquid sodium embrittlement as well. Some fracture surfaces testify of an intergranular fracture mode, but some questions still remain about the crack path.
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Samuel Hémery. Influence du sodium liquide sur le comportement mécanique de l'acier T91. Autre. Ecole Centrale Paris, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013ECAP0065⟩. ⟨tel-00978485⟩

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