Detailed investigations have been performed for assessing the importance of weld discontinuities in strain controlled low cycle fatigue (LCF) behavior of 308 stainless steel (SS) welds. The LCF behavior of 308 SS welds containing defects was compared with that of type 304 SS base material and 308 SS sound weld metal. Weld pads were prepared by shielded metal arc welding process. Porosity and slag inclusions were introduced deliberately into the weld metal by grossly exaggerating the conditions normally causing such defects. Total axial strain controlled LCF tests have been conducted in air at 823 K on type 304 SS base and 308 SS sound weld metal employing strain amplitudes in the range from ±0.25 to ±0.8 percent. A single strain amplitude of ±0.25 percent was used for all the tests conducted on weld samples containing defects. The results indicated that the base material undergoes cyclic hardening whereas sound and defective welds experience cyclic softening. Base metal showed higher fatigue life than sound weld metal at all strain amplitudes. The presence of porosity and slag inclusions in the weld metal led to significant reduction in life. Porosity on the specimen surface has been found to be particularly harmful and caused a reduction in life by a factor of seven relative to sound weld metal. Defect combination of porosity and slag inclusions was found to be more deleterious than the case when either the slag inclusions or porosity was present alone. Discontinuties acted as crack initiation sites and also enhanced crack propagation. The LCF properties of weld samples containing discontinuities have been correlated with the damage and fracture behavior.

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