In the petrochemical industry, in particular for LDPE (Low-Density-Poly-Ethylene) and EVA-processes (Ethylene-Vinyl-Acetate), high strength quenched and tempered steels are used for seamless tubes subjected to ultra-high pressure. The high safety demands at pressures up to 4000bar require besides high fracture toughness and static strength also high fatigue endurance. The fatigue performance can be significantly impoved by the use of autofrettage. In this case residual compressive stresses are generated with simultaneous material work-hardening by targeted plastic deformation in the area of the inner wall of the tube. The positive effect of autofrettage mainly depends on the level of residual compressive stress. The maximum magnitude of these compressive stresses is always smaller than the yield strength of the material in tensile direction, even if the autofrettage level is increased. The amount by what this stress is smaller than the material yield strength depends on the characteristic of the so-called Bauschinger-effect, or on the kinematic hardening behavior of the material.

The target of the present work is to investigate the stability of residual stresses from autofrettage and their influence on the service life of high pressure tubes under cyclic internal pressure loading. For this purpose, in the first part, the quantitative character of the Bauschinger effect for a high strength quenched and tempered steel is determined by means of specimen tests. In the next step, the influence of the Bauschinger-effect on the resulting residual compressive stresses in a tube-like specimen is investigated. Autofrettage tests are performed on these specimens equipped with strain gages. In the second part of the work, the results of fatigue tests of the mentioned tube-like specimen are compared with the calculated fatigue endurance according to Division 3, Section VIII of the ASME Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC). Calculations are performed, which once use the residual stress correction for reverse yielding according to ASME Code and once consider the actual residual stresses from tests and simulation.

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