In this paper, the effect of residual stress on the initiation of a crack at high temperature in a Type 347 austenitic steel weld is examined using the finite element method. Both two and three dimensional analyses have been carried out. Residual stresses have been introduced by prior mechanical deformation, using a previously developed notched compact tension specimen. It has been found that for the 347 weld material, peak stresses in the vicinity of the notch are approximately three times the yield strength at room temperature and the level of stress triaxiality (ratio between hydrostatic and equivalent stress) is approximately 1 (considerably higher than that for a uniaxial test). The finite element analysis includes the effects of stress redistribution and damage accumulation under creep conditions. For the case examined the analysis predicts that crack initiation will occur under conditions of stress relaxation if the uniaxial creep ductility of the material is less than 2.5%. Furthermore, the predicted life of the component under constant load (creep conditions) is significantly reduced due to the presence of the residual stress field.

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