Data are presented from fatigue-crack growth tests conducted on Type 304 S.S. in inert environments at elevated temperatures which show that the thermal-activation noted in similar tests run in air environments is not present in the inert environment. Similar observations from the literature are reviewed, including the observation that the time-dependency noted in tests conducted in elevated temperature air environments is also greatly suppressed in inert environments. These findings suggest that an interaction between the fatigue process and the corrosive air environments is responsible for the thermally-activated time-dependent behavior often attributed to creep-fatigue interaction. Data are also presented which show that the fatigue-crack growth behavior of Type 304 S.S. subjected to significant creep damage prior to fatigue testing does not differ appreciably from the behavior of material not subjected to prior creep damage; again indicating minimal interaction between creep and fatigue. It is suggested that in the temperature range where pressure vessels and piping are generally designed to operate (i.e. below about one-half the absolute melting temperature of the alloy), the interaction between creep and fatigue is far less significant than once supposed, and that the major parameter interacting with the fatigue process is that of high temperature corrosion.

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