This paper presents the application of a life fraction hardening rule to the analytical calculation of creep in hot section components. Accurate prediction of creep is critical to assuring the mechanical integrity of heavy-duty, industrial gas turbine (IGT) hardware. The accuracy of such predictions depend upon both the creep models assumed and how those models are implemented in a finite element solution. A modified theta projection creep model for a nickel-based super alloy was presented in a previous paper as an accurate simulation of creep behavior [1]. Application of such a user defined creep law depends upon definition of a hardening rule in the form of either an explicit or an implicit integration scheme in order to calculate incremental strains during any time increment. Time hardening is the simplest and least computationally intensive of the two most common hardening rules, but does not correctly show the effect of changing stresses or temperatures. Strain hardening may provide the most accurate solution, but the creep models are too complex to invert, which results in highly iterative and computationally intensive solutions. A life fraction hardening rule has been presented in other works [2] as a compromise between time hardening and strain hardening. Life fraction hardening is presented here as a highly efficient and accurate means of calculating incremental creep strain when applied to a modified theta projection creep model. A user creep subroutine was defined using a state variable to represent the strain life fraction at any time. By using the time to tertiary creep as the denominator for the life fraction, no new material constants are needed to relate to creep failure. The start of tertiary creep is effectively considered to be a failure. Additional design insight can be provided through the inclusion of other state variables to calculate temperature margins at current conditions. Material testing with changing stress levels will be used to help validate the technique. A simplified example of the technique is presented in the paper. More accurate creep predictions allow our company to improve the structural integrity of its turbine blades and vanes.

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