Surface Integrity of Broached Inconel 718 and Influence of Thermal Exposure

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: Inconel 718 is a nickel-based superalloy that is extensively used as a disc material in gas turbine engines. The service life of gas turbine discs is normally governed by the modes of material degradation and fatigue failure since they work mostly at high temperatures and are subjected to cyclic mechanical loadings. Fatigue failures often start with the initiation of cracks at the surface and the precise details of the failure process significantly depend on the surface conditions. In turbine disc production, one of the last manufacturing steps is to broach root fixings, commonly of fir-tree design, for blade mounting. It has always been a challenge when machining Inconel 718 due to its high strength retention at elevated temperatures, rapid work hardening, as well as low thermal conductivity. This usually leads to rapid tool wear, and consequently shorter tool life, and at the end to the deterioration of the surface integrity of the machined components.The aim of this licentiate thesis is to increase our knowledge about the surface integrity, especially microstructure and residual stresses, of broached Inconel 718 and its stability under thermal exposure. This knowledge can later be used for analyzing the initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks in broached Inconel 718, particularly in the case of high temperature fatigue, thereby giving a better understanding of the failure mechanism of gas turbine discs from a fatigue point of view.A broaching operation has been performed using similar cutting conditions as that used in turbo machinery industries for producing fir-tree root fixings. In addition, service damages were analyzed in a retired dis of Inconel 718. Surface defects, severe plastic deformation and generation of high tensile residual stresses have been found to be the main damages to the surface integrity caused by the broaching operation. The machining induced plastic deformation was found to accelerate the microstructural degradation beneath the broached surface when subjected to thermal exposure. The surface tensile residual stresses can be completely removed after short thermal exposure, the tensile layer in the sub-surface region, however, exhibited a high resistance to stress relief at high temperatures. The damage analysis on the retired disc indicated that presence of the highly deformed layer on the machined surface is negative for preventing the occurrence of fretting fatigue in turbine discs.