Fatigue of Niobium stabilized austenitic stainless steel (X6CrNiNb1810 mod) was studied using specimens extracted from a solution annealed and quenched primary piping material sample. This paper reports and discusses results of non-standard experiments to complement previously published test data. The NPP primary piping components spend long times in operation temperature between fatigue cycles originating from thermal transients. This was roughly simulated by fatigue tests periodically interrupted for intermediate annealing in elevated temperature. Fatigue endurance was notably increased when low strain amplitudes were used. The life extension is explained by the cyclic stress strain response. Hardening followed by slow cyclic softening was consistently observed after annealing. It is generally assumed that cumulative accumulation of fatigue damage occurs at a wide range of loading amplitudes. We performed two level and spectrum straining tests combining amplitudes above and below the (Nf > 107) endurance limit. The endurance limit seems to be effective also in variable amplitude loading. In terms of modified Miner rule, even “negative damage” was obtained in two level tests below and above the constant amplitude endurance limit. This behavior is linked to prominent secondary hardening of the steel.

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