Reed, P.A.S. and Knott, J.F.
An investigation of the warm prestressing (WPS) effect in A533B weld metal
Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, 15, (12), .
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The WPS effect has been shown to be beneficial in increasing the lower shelf fracture toughness of A533B weld metal for both the Load-Unload-Cool-Fracture (LUCF) and the Load-Cool-Fracture (LCF) cycles. The LCF cycle gives a greater apparent increase in fracture toughness than the LUCF cycle but only a small increment of load in the lower shelf region is needed to propagate failure compared with a much increased fracture load which is required in the LUCF case. Models predicting the increase in apparent fracture toughness by superposition of the stress and strain distributions from each step in the prestress cycle are shown to be non-conservative for failures occurring in the lower shelf brittle regime. There is evidence for the operation of a “microcrack blunting” mechanism, but the extent to which it contributes to the WPS effect is small. Stress-relief heat-treatments after prestressing remove nearly all the beneficial effects of WPS. Residual stresses clearly play an important role in the WPS phenomenon, and the models successfully predict experimentally observed trends. Prestressing “deactivates” failure initiation from the larger inclusions in the weld metal. This however does not affect the intrinsic fracture toughness of the material. Fracture in this weld metal, where initiation sites (inclusions) abound, appears to be a co-operative process, and fracture is controlled by inclusions of the mean (and hence most plentiful) diameter rather than the maximum diameter.
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