Fracture: Thermal Fatigue Fracture
When bulging occurred in mortar tubes made of British I steel during elevated-temperature test firing, a test program was formulated to evaluate the high-temperature properties (at 540 to 650 deg C, or 1000 to 1200 deg F) of the British I steel and of several alternative alloys including a maraging steel (18% Ni, grade 250), a vanadium-modified 4337 gun steel (4337V), H19 tool steel, and high-temperature alloys Rene 41, Inconel 718, and Udimet 630. All the alloys evaluated had been used in mortar tubes previously or were known to meet the estimated minimum yield strength. The alloys fall in this order of decreasing strengths: Udimet 630, Inconel 718, Rene 41, H19 tool steel, British I steel, 4337V gun steel, and maraging steel. When cycled between room temperature and 540 to 650 deg C (1000 to 1200 deg F), only Udimet 630, Inconel 718, and Rene 41 retained yield strengths higher than the minimum. Also, these three alloys maintained high strengths over the tested range, whereas the others decreased in yield strength as cycling progressed. Analysis showed Inconel 718 was considered best suited for 81-mm mortar tubes, and widespread industrial use ensured its availability.