Cracking and Failure Characteristics of Flame Cut Thick Steel Plates
Jokiaho,T.; Santa-aho,S.; Peura,P.; Vippola,M. (2020)
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The manufacturing of thick wear-resistant steel plates commonly leads to a layered structure and non-uniform properties in the thickness direction which makes the processing and utilization of the plates problematic. The processing steps of thick plates include flame cutting, which generates a heat-affected zone and high residual stresses into the cut edge. In the worst case, the cutting causes cracking. However, the residual stress level alone is not high enough to break a wear-resistant steel plate that behaves normally. Therefore, high-tensile stress also requires a microstructurally weak factor for crack initiation. For this reason, the main objective of this study is to reveal the main microstructural reasons behind the cracking of plates in flame cutting. To achieve this, plate samples containing cracks are mechanically tested and analyzed by electron microscopy. The results show that cracks are commonly formed horizontally into the tempered region of the heat-affected zone. Cracks initiate in the segregations, which typically have a higher amount of impurity and alloying elements. Increased impurity and alloying content in the segregations decreases the cohesion of the prior austenite grain boundaries. These weakened grain boundaries combined with high-residual tensile stress generate the cracks in the flame-cutting process.
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