The thermo-mechanical effects of firing induce very considerable stresses on the internal surface of the gun barrels. Consequently, micro-cracks appear very soon in the life of the tube. So it is important to control the propagation of these cracks. For more than 10 years, modeling has been used by Giat-Industries to understand and to control this phenomenon. This paper focuses on the study of short crack propagation kinetics during firings. Two-dimensional modeling taking into consideration the residual stresses from a hydraulic autofrettage and the thermo-mechanical stresses due to the successive firings is presented. The cyclic plastic behavior of the material is taken into consideration. This makes it possible to observe the effect of loss of the residual stresses at the surface due to the firings. Cracks of increasing length are introduced in the model to calculate the stress intensity factor. An innovative point is the modeling of the contact between the crack lips in order to take into account the effect of crack closing during cooling. Indeed the effective stress intensity factor range is calculated using this model for numerous crack lengths. A classic Paris law is then used to predict the crack propagation kinetics. Sensitivity analysis has been carried out using this model; in particular, the effect of autofrettage on crack propagation is analyzed as well as the effect of the use of lower-strength steels.

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