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**Significance and Use**

6.1 Creep crack growth rate expressed as a function of the steady state C* or K characterizes the resistance of a material to crack growth under conditions of extensive creep deformation or under brittle creep conditions. Background information on the rationale for employing the fracture mechanics approach in the analyses of creep crack growth data is given in (11, 13, 30-35).

6.2 Aggressive environments at high temperatures can significantly affect the creep crack growth behavior. Attention must be given to the proper selection and control of temperature and environment in research studies and in generation of design data.

6.2.1 Expressing CCI time, t_{0.2} and CCG rate, da/dt as a function of an appropriate fracture mechanics related parameter generally provides results that are independent of specimen size and planar geometry for the same stress state at the crack tip for the range of geometries and sizes presented in this document (see Annex A1). Thus, the appropriate correlation will enable exchange and comparison of data obtained from a variety of specimen configurations and loading conditions. Moreover, this feature enables creep crack growth data to be utilized in the design and evaluation of engineering structures operated at elevated temperatures where creep deformation is a concern. The concept of similitude is assumed, implying that cracks of differing sizes subjected to the same nominal C*(t), C_{t}, or K will advance by equal increments of crack extension per unit time, provided the conditions for the validity for the specific crack growth rate relating parameter are met. See 11.7 for details.

6.2.2 The effects of crack tip constraint arising from variations in specimen size, geometry and material ductility can influence t_{0.2} and da/dt. For example, crack growth rates at the same value of C*(t), C_{t} in creep-ductile materials generally increases with increasing thickness. It is therefore necessary to keep the component dimensions in mind when selecting specimen thickness, geometry and size for laboratory testing.

6.2.3 Different geometries as mentioned in 1.1.6 may have different size requirements for obtaining geometry and size independent creep crack growth rate data. It is therefore necessary to account for these factors when comparing da/dt data for different geometries or when predicting component life using laboratory data. For these reasons, the scope of this standard is restricted to the use of specimens shown in Annex A1 and the validation criteria for these specimens are specified in 11.2.3 and 11.7. However if specimens other than the C(T) geometry are used for generating creep crack growth data, then the da/dt data obtained should, if possible, be compared against test data derived from the standard C(T) tests in order to validate the data.

6.2.4 Creep cracks have been observed to grow at different rates at the beginning of tests compared with the rates at equivalent C*(t), C_{t} or K values for cracks that have sustained previous creep crack extension (12, 13). This region is identified as ‘tail’. The duration of this transient condition, ‘tail’, varies with material and initially applied force level. These transients are due to rapid changes in the crack tip stress fields after initial elastic loading and/or due to an initial period during which a creep damage zone evolves at the crack tip and propagates in a self-similar fashion with further crack extension (12, 13). This region is separated from the steady-state crack extension which follows this period and is characterized by a unique da/dt versus C*(t), C_{t} or K relationship. This transient region, especially in creep-brittle materials, can be present for a substantial fraction of the overall life (35). Criteria are provided in this standard to quantify this region as an initial crack growth period (see 1.1.5) and to use it in parallel with the steady state crack growth rate data. See 11.8.8 for further details.

6.3 Results from this test method can be used as follows:

6.3.1 Establish predictive models for crack incubation periods and growth using analytical and numerical techniques (18-21).

6.3.2 Establish the influence of creep crack development and growth on remaining component life under conditions of sustained loading at elevated temperatures wherein creeps deformation might occur (23-28).

Note 1: For such cases, the experimental data must be generated under representative loading and stress-state conditions and combined with appropriate fracture or plastic collapse criterion, defect characterization data, and stress analysis information.

6.3.3 Establish material selection criteria and inspection requirements for damage tolerant applications.

6.3.4 Establish, in quantitative terms, the individual and combined effects of metallurgical, fabrication, operating temperature, and loading variables on creep crack growth life.

6.4 The results obtained from this test method are designed for crack dominant regimes of creep failure and should not be applied to cracks in structures with wide-spread creep damage which effectively reduces the crack extension to a collective damage region. Localized damage in a small zone around the crack tip is permissible, but not in a zone that is comparable in size to the crack size or the remaining ligament size. Creep damage for the purposes here is defined by the presence of grain boundary cavitation. Creep crack growth is defined primarily by the growth of intergranular time-dependent cracks. Crack tip branching and deviation of the crack growth directions can occur if the wrong choice of specimen size, side-grooving and geometry is made (see 8.3). The criteria for geometry selection are discussed in 5.8.

**1. Scope**

1.1 This test method covers the determination of creep crack initiation (CCI) and creep crack growth (CCG) in metals at elevated temperatures using pre-cracked specimens subjected to static or quasi-static loading conditions. The solutions presented in this test method are validated for base material (i.e. homogenous properties) and mixed base/weld material with inhomogeneous microstructures and creep properties. The CCI time, t_{0.2}, which is the time required to reach an initial crack extension of δa_{i} = 0.2 mm to occur from the onset of first applied force, and CCG rate, a˙ or da/dt are expressed in terms of the magnitude of creep crack growth correlated by fracture mechanics parameters, C* or K, with C* defined as the steady state determination of the crack tip stresses derived in principal from C*(t) and C_{t} (1-17).2 The crack growth derived in this manner is identified as a material property which can be used in modeling and life assessment methods (17-28).

1.1.1 The choice of the crack growth correlating parameter C*, C*(t), C_{t}, or K depends on the material creep properties, geometry and size of the specimen. Two types of material behavior are generally observed during creep crack growth tests; creep-ductile (1-17) and creep-brittle (29-44). In creep ductile materials, where creep strains dominate and creep crack growth is accompanied by substantial time-dependent creep strains at the crack tip, the crack growth rate is correlated by the steady state definitions of C_{t} or C*(t) , defined as C* (see 1.1.4). In creep-brittle materials, creep crack growth occurs at low creep ductility. Consequently, the time-dependent creep strains are comparable to or dominated by accompanying elastic strains local to the crack tip. Under such steady state creep-brittle conditions, C_{t} or K could be chosen as the correlating parameter (8-14).

1.1.2 In any one test, two regions of crack growth behavior may be present (12, 13). The initial transient region where elastic strains dominate and creep damage develops and in the steady state region where crack grows proportionally to time. Steady-state creep crack growth rate behavior is covered by this standard. In addition specific recommendations are made in 11.7 as to how the transient region should be treated in terms of an initial crack growth period. During steady state, a unique correlation exists between da/dt and the appropriate crack growth rate relating parameter.

1.1.3 In creep ductile materials, extensive creep occurs when the entire un-cracked ligament undergoes creep deformation. Such conditions are distinct from the conditions of small-scale creep and transition creep (1-10). In the case of extensive creep, the region dominated by creep deformation is significant in size in comparison to both the crack length and the uncracked ligament sizes. In small-scale-creep only a small region of the un-cracked ligament local to the crack tip experiences creep deformation.

1.1.4 The creep crack growth rate in the extensive creep region is correlated by the C*(t)-integral. The C_{t} parameter correlates the creep crack growth rate in the small-scale creep and the transition creep regions and reduces, by definition, to C*(t) in the extensive creep region (5). Hence in this document the definition C* is used as the relevant parameter in the steady state extensive creep regime whereas C*(t) and/or C_{t} are the parameters which describe the instantaneous stress state from the small scale creep, transient and the steady state regimes in creep. The recommended functions to derive C* for the different geometries shown in Annex A1 is described in Annex A2.

1.1.5 An engineering definition of an initial crack extension size δa_{i} is used in order to quantify the initial period of crack development. This distance is given as 0.2 mm. It has been shown (41-44) that this initial period which exists at the start of the test could be a substantial period of the test time. During this early period the crack tip undergoes damage development as well as redistribution of stresses prior reaching steady state. Recommendation is made to correlate this initial crack growth period defined as t_{0.2} at δa_{i} = 0.2 mm with the steady state C* when the crack tip is under extensive creep and with K for creep brittle conditions. The values for C* and K should be calculated at the final specified crack size defined as a_{o} + δa_{i} where a_{o} is initial size of the starter crack.

1.1.6 The recommended specimens for CCI and CCG testing is the standard compact tension specimen C(T) (see Fig. A1.1) which is pin-loaded in tension under constant loading conditions. The clevis setup is shown in Fig. A1.2 (see 7.2.1 for details). Additional geometries which are valid for testing in this procedure are shown in Fig. A1.3. These are the C-ring in tension CS(T), middle crack specimen in tension M(T), single edge notched tension SEN(T), single edge notched bend SEN(B), and double edge notched tension DEN(T). In Fig. A1.3, the specimens’ side-grooving-position for measuring displacement at the force-line displacement (FLD) and crack mouth opening displacement (CMOD) and also positions for the potential drop (PD) input and output leads are shown. Recommended loading for the tension specimens is pin-loading. The configurations, size range are given in Table A1.1 of Annex A1, (43-47). Specimen selection will be discussed in 5.9.

1.1.7 The state-of-stress at the crack tip may have an influence on the creep crack growth behavior and can cause crack-front tunneling in plane-sided specimens. Specimen size, geometry, crack length, test duration and creep properties will affect the state-of-stress at the crack tip and are important factors in determining crack growth rate. A recommended size range of test specimens and their side-grooving are given in Table A1.1 in Annex A1. It has been shown that for this range the cracking rates do not vary for a range of materials and loading conditions (43-47). Suggesting that the level of constraint, for the relatively short term test durations (less than one year), does not vary within the range of normal data scatter observed in tests of these geometries. However it is recommended that, within the limitations imposed on the laboratory, that tests are performed on different geometries, specimen size, dimensions and crack size starters. In all cases a comparison of the data from the above should be made by testing the standard C(T) specimen where possible. It is clear that increased confidence in the materials crack growth data can be produced by testing a wider range of specimen types and conditions as described above.

1.1.8 Material inhomogeneity, residual stresses and material degradation at temperature, specimen geometry and low-force long duration tests (mainly greater that one year) can influence the rate of crack initiation and growth properties (42-50). In cases where residual stresses exist, the effect can be significant when test specimens are taken from material that characteristically embodies residual stress fields or the damaged material, or both. For example weldments, or thick cast, forged, extruded, components, plastically bent components and complex component shapes, or a combination thereof, where full stress relief is impractical. Specimens taken from such component that contain residual stresses may likewise contain residual stresses which may have altered in their extent and distribution due to specimen fabrication. Extraction of specimens in itself partially relieves and redistributes the residual stress pattern; however, the remaining magnitude could still cause significant effects in the ensuing test unless post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) is performed. Otherwise residual stresses are superimposed on applied stress and results in crack-tip stress intensity that is different from that based solely on externally applied forces or displacements. Not taking the tensile residual stress effect into account will produce C* values lower than expected effectively producing a faster cracking rate with respect to a constant C*. This would produce conservative estimates for life assessment and non-conservative calculations for design purposes. It should also be noted that distortion during specimen machining can also indicate the presence of residual stresses.

1.1.9 Stress relaxation of the residual stresses due to creep and crack extension should also be taken into consideration. No specific allowance is included in this standard for dealing with these variations. However the method of calculating C* presented in this document which used the specimen’s creep displacement rate to estimate C* inherently takes into account the effects described above as reflected by the instantaneous creep strains that have been measured. However extra caution should still be observed with the analysis of these types of tests as the correlating parameters K and C* shown in Annex A2 even though it is expected that stress relaxation at high temperatures could in part negate the effects due to residual stresses. Annex A4 presents the correct calculations needed to derive J and C* for weldment tests where a mis-match factor needs to be taken into account.

1.1.10 Specimen configurations and sizes other than those listed in Table A1.1 which are tested under constant force will involve further validity requirements. This is done by comparing data from recommended test configurations. Nevertheless, use of other geometries are applicable by this method provided data are compared to data obtained from standard specimens (as identified in Table A1.1) and the appropriate correlating parameters have been validated.

1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The inch-pound units given in parentheses are for information only.

1.3 *This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.*

**2. Referenced Documents** *(purchase separately)* The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

**ASTM Standards**

E4 Practices for Force Verification of Testing Machines

E74 Practice of Calibration of Force-Measuring Instruments for Verifying the Force Indication of Testing Machines

E83 Practice for Verification and Classification of Extensometer Systems

E139 Test Methods for Conducting Creep, Creep-Rupture, and Stress-Rupture Tests of Metallic Materials

E220 Test Method for Calibration of Thermocouples By Comparison Techniques

E399 Test Method for Linear-Elastic Plane-Strain Fracture Toughness KIc of Metallic Materials

E647 Test Method for Measurement of Fatigue Crack Growth Rates

E813 Test Method for JIc, A Measure of Fracture Toughness

E1152 Test Method for Determining-J-R-Curves

E1820 Test Method for Measurement of Fracture Toughness

E1823 Terminology Relating to Fatigue and Fracture Testing

E2818 Practice for Determination of Quasistatic Fracture Toughness of Welds

**ICS Code**

ICS Number Code 77.040.10 (Mechanical testing of metals)

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**DOI:** 10.1520/E1457-15

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**Citation Format**

ASTM E1457-15, Standard Test Method for Measurement of Creep Crack Growth Times in Metals, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org

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