ISIJ International
Online ISSN : 1347-5460
Print ISSN : 0915-1559
ISSN-L : 0915-1559
Mechanical Properties
Cracking Process in Delayed Fracture of High-Strength Steel after Long Atmospheric Exposure
Tomoka HommaTakahiro ChibaKenichi TakaiEiji AkiyamaWataru OshikawaMichihiko Nagumo
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2022 Volume 62 Issue 4 Pages 776-787


This paper is the first microscopic observation of the entire cracking process in delayed fracture of high-strength steel bolt after long-term atmospheric exposure. A sufficiently fresh fracture surface exhibits the initiation of the propagating crack in a thin zone beneath the screw groove, resulting from the merging of multiple cracks nucleated therein. The fracture morphology is initially intergranular, exhibiting the three-dimensional shape of prior austenite grains, but the stress and strain states at the nucleation sites are not uniquely specified. The fracture morphology alters as the crack extends from intergranular to quasi-cleavage and fine dimples, associated with increasing stress intensity under a constant-displacement condition. The change from inter- to trans-granular fracture is continuous, implying affinity among different morphologies associated with the increased density and the distribution of potential crack nucleation sites in the crack front. The crack propagation in the quasi-cleavage and fine dimple regions is step-wise of about 50 µm per step. Recent studies about the function of hydrogen in embrittlement are referred to in respect of the accumulation of strain-induced damage. The enhanced generation of strain-induced vacancies is the presumable function of hydrogen compatible with the present findings.

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© 2022 The Iron and Steel Institute of Japan.

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