Several time-dependent damage mechanisms can operate during creep-fatigue loading. In the crack tip region, creep deformation, stress relaxation, oxygen diffusion along grain boundaries, and grain boundary oxidation are all occurring during the hold period of a creep-fatigue cycle. These conditions can lead to grain boundary embrittlement; however, it depends on the rates of the different processes. A comparison of the kinetics can determine which mechanisms are operational and which mechanism is the rate limiting step in the time-dependent damage process during creep-fatigue crack growth. This paper presents results for intergranular embrittlement occurring within a 10 s hold period and compares the kinetics of the processes.
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