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Intergranular fracture (IGF) has been observed in carbon-manganese steels after irradiation or high temperature exposure for prolonged periods. The effect is associated with an increase in the ductile-brittle transition temperature and has been related to phosphorus diffusion to grain boundaries. Phosphorus also diffuses thermally at the temperatures used for post-weld heat treatments such that in principle, the slightly different heat treatments given to different parts of a large vessel could lead to differing grain boundary phosphorus coverage and hence susceptibility to IGF. The effect of typical heat treatments on phosphorus coverage has been investigated using a finite difference model based on a theory that has been fitted to a wide range of constant temperature data. Regardless of previous history, the grain boundary coverage of phosphorus was predicted to depend on the final anneal and cooling rate. These differed insufficiently in the typical heat treatments to produce significant differences in segregation. It was concluded that the ductile-brittle transition temperature in submerged-arc welds would be unaffected in vessels that had seen typical post-weld heat treatments.
thermal embrittlement, pressure vessel steels, weld metal, mechanisms modelling, phosphorus
Magnox Electric plc, Berkeley Centre, Gloucestershire,
jtb Materials & Design, Gloucestershire,