Loughborough University

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Evaluation of metallurgical risk factors in post-test, advanced 9%Cr creep strength enhanced ferritic (CSEF) steel

journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-14, 08:21 authored by X Zhang, Stuart RobertsonStuart Robertson, Simon HoggSimon Hogg, Mark JepsonMark Jepson

9wt.% Cr steels are widely used in the design and fabrication of thick section components in combined cycle or coalfired applications for working temperatures of 600~650°C. This family of materials possesses a martensitic microstructure stabilized by precipitates. The presence of nitrides, inclusions or evolution of second-phase particles may increase the metallurgical risk to creep. The chemical composition and microstructural evolution of 9wt.% Cr steels contribute to thermal stability and long-term performance. In some specialist alloys, Ta is added to the composition which causes the formation of fine MX precipitates which are only present at the nanometre scale in tempered martensite, which hinder the recovery of dislocations and the migration of laths to extend creep life. However, the presence of large Ta-containing particles or inclusions in the 9wt.% Cr steels may have a detrimental effect on its creep performance, as they may act as preferred sites for cavity nucleation. To fully appreciate the development of damage in these steels, it is necessary to link the pre- and post-test conditions, evaluate damage in the parent metal, develop procedures that provide consistency of results, and obtain statistically relevant data. The evolution of the Ta-containing phase has been tracked and quantified using a variety of correlative characterization approaches. Utilizing focused ion beam microscopy and two-dimensional electron-based microscopic characterisation, three-dimensional tomography has identified a strong relationship between creep cavities and Tacontaining phases from the early stages of creep.


EPRI, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California, USA

Underpinning Multi-User Equipment

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Materials

Published in

Materials at High Temperatures


Taylor & Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Acceptance date







  • en


Dr Mark Jepson. Deposit date: 13 September 2023