A substantial amount of research effort has been applied to the field of environmentally assisted fatigue (EAF) due to the requirement to account for the EAF behaviour of metals for existing and new build nuclear power plants. We present the results of the European project INcreasing Safety in NPPs by Covering Gaps in Environmental Fatigue Assessment (INCEFA-PLUS), during which the sensitivities of strain range, environment, surface roughness, mean strain and hold times, as well as their interactions on the fatigue life of austenitic steels has been characterized. The project included a test campaign, during which more than 250 fatigue tests were performed. The tests did not reveal a significant effect of mean strain or hold time on fatigue life. An empirical model describing the fatigue life as a function of strain rate, environment and surface roughness is developed. There is evidence for statistically significant interaction effects between surface roughness and the environment, as well as between surface roughness and strain range. However, their impact on fatigue life is so small that they are not practically relevant and can in most cases be neglected. Reducing the environmental impact on fatigue life by modifying the temperature or strain rate leads to an increase of the fatigue life in agreement with predictions based on NUREG/CR-6909. A limited sub-programme on the sensitivity of hold times at elevated temperature at zero force conditions and at elevated temperature did not show the beneficial effect on fatigue life found in another study.
- Austenitic stainless steel
- Environmentally assisted fatigue (EAF)
- Light water reactor (LWR)
- Nuclear power plant (NPP)
- Surface roughness