To investigate the fatigue behavior of metastable austenite steels in the VHCF-regime, high loading frequencies are essential to realize acceptable testing times. Hence, two high-frequency testing systems were used at the authors’ institute: an ultrasonic testing system with a test frequency of 20 000 Hz and also, a servohydraulic system with a test frequency of 980 Hz. In the present study, two different batches of the metastable austenitic stainless steel AISI 347 were investigated.

Fatigue tests on metastable austenitic steel AISI 347 batch A were carried out at an ultrasonic test system at a test frequency of 20 000 Hz, at ambient temperature. Because the test rig acts as a mechanical resonant circuit excited by a piezoelectric transducer the specimen must be designed for oscillation in its vibration Eigenmode at the test frequency to assure maximum displacement at the end and maximum stress in the gauge length center, respectively. For analyzing the deformation behavior during the tests, the change in temperature was measured. Additionally, Feritscope™ measurements at the specimen surface were performed ex-situ after defined load cycles. First results showed a pronounced development of phase transformation from paramagnetic face-centered cubic γ-austenite to ferromagnetic body-centered cubic α‘-martensite. Because formation of α‘-martensite influences the transient behavior and high frequency loadings leads to pronounced self-heating of the material, ultrasonic fatigue tests on metastable austenites represent a challenge in controlling of displacement amplitude and limiting the specimen temperature.

First investigations on metastable austenitc steel AISI 347 batch B using a servohydraulic test system at a frequency of 980 Hz and a temperature of T = 300 °C resulted in no fatigue failure beyond N = 107 cycles in the VHCF-regime. However, only specimens with a low content of cyclic deformation-induced α‘-martensite achieved the ultimate number of cycles (Nu = 5·108).

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