This paper investigates the cause of premature failures in certain Grade 91 steel components used in UK power plants. The failures were linked to both low material hardness and specific chemical compositions that fell within ASTM specifications but had a low nitrogen-to-aluminum ratio (N:Al). The investigators examined eight material batches, including those involved in failures, new stock, and in-service components with similar properties. Testing confirmed these materials had lower creep resistance compared to standard Grade 91 steel. Microscopic analysis revealed the presence of large aluminum nitride precipitates, which limited the formation of beneficial vanadium nitride precipitates, leading to reduced creep strength. These findings suggest that even within the ASTM specification limits, a low N:Al ratio can negatively impact the performance of Grade 91 steel.

This content is only available as a PDF.