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[en] Creep rupture life and microstructural degradation have been studied in two heats of Gr.91 steels. The coarsening of subgrains and precipitates, mainly M23C6 and MX, has been evaluated during static aging and creep. Hardness of head (static aging) and gauge (creep) portions of crept samples were measured to know their relation with microstructural degradation during long-term exposure. The correlation between subgrain size and spacing of precipitates and hardness has been equated. As an example, there is a close correlation between hardness value and inverse subgrains size in Gr.91 steels, regardless of aging or creep conditions. The appearance of three recovery mechanisms was found during long-term creep, namely: strain-induced recovery, pure static recovery and strain-assisted static recovery. By equated correlations between subgrain size, precipitates and hardness, the contribution of three recovery mechanisms to subgrain coarsening and hardness drop were calculated for two creep conditions at 700 °C in long-term creep region, where breakdown of creep strength has happen. The calculated data accord well with experimental data obtained from aged and crept samples. The contribution of static recovery to the subgrain coarsening and consequent hardness drop during long-term creep increases with increasing creep time. The significant contribution of both static recovery mechanisms can result in the breakdown of creep strength in long-term creep region
[en] Creep rupture data and microstructural degradation during aging of high Cr ferritic boiler steels with enhanced creep strength have been studied with special attention to prediction of long term creep rupture life. Tempered lath martensite structure in the high Cr ferritic steels remains unchanged during short term aging, whereas static recovery of the lath martensite structure proceeds when diffusion distance during aging becomes sufficiently long as is the case in long term creep. The static recovery brings about premature failure in long term creep and decreases in apparent activation energy for creep life. The decrease in activation energy is responsible for overestimation of rupture life reported in strength enhanced high Cr ferritic steels. The boundary from a short term region with high activation energy QH to a long term region with low activation energy QL moves towards longer time with decreasing Cr concentration. The difference in activation energy (QH - QL) primarily determines the extent of overestimation of rupture life predicted from short term data. In general, the extent of overestimation is less serious at 9%Cr as compared to 12%Cr.