The world’s energy market demands more efficient power plants, hence, the operating conditions become severe. For thermal plants, Ultra Super Critical (USC) conditions were employed with an operating temperature above 600°C. In such conditions, the main failure mechanism is creep rupture behavior. Thus, the accurate creep life prediction of high temperature components in operation has a great importance in structural integrity evaluation of USC power plants. Many creep damage models have been developed based on continuum damage mechanics and implemented through finite element analysis. The material constants in these damage models are derived from several accelerated uniaxial creep experiments in high stress conditions.
In this study, the target material, HR3C, is an austenitic heat resistant steel which is used in reheater/superheater tubes of an USC power plant built in South Korea. Its creep life was predicted by extrapolating the creep rupture times derived from three different creep damage models. Several accelerated uniaxial creep tests have been conducted in various stress conditions in order to obtain the material constants. Kachanov-Rabotnov, Liu-Murakami and the Wen creep damage models were implemented. A comparative assessment on these three creep damage models were performed for predicting the creep life of HR3C steel. Each models require a single variable to fit the creep test curves. An optimization error function were suggested by the authors to quantify the best fit value. To predict the long term creep life of metallic materials, the Monkman-Grant model and creep rupture property diagrams were plotted and then extrapolated over an extended range. Finally, it is expected that one can assess the remaining lifetime of UCS power plants with such a valid estimation of long-term creep life.