Cracking of a Pressure Vessel During Autofrettage Because of Scale Worked Into Forging Laps and Seams
During autofrettage of a thick-wall steel pressure vessel, a crack developed through the wall of the component. Certain forged pressure vessels are subjected to autofrettage during their manufacture to induce residual compressive stresses at locations where fatigue cracks may initiate. The results of the autofrettage process, which creates a state of plastic strain in the material, is an increase in the fatigue life of the component. Analysis (visual inspection, 50x/500x unetched micrographs, and electron microprobe analysis) supports the conclusion that the fracture toughness of the steel was exceeded, and failure through the wall occurred because of the following reason: the high level of iron oxide found is highly abnormal in vacuum-degassed steels. Included matter of this nature (exogenous) most likely resulted from scale worked into the surface during forging. Therefore, it is understandable that failure occurred during autofrettage when the section containing these defects was subjected to plastic strains. Because the inclusions were sizable, hard, and extremely irregular, this region would effect substantial stress concentration. No recommendations were made.