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Solid State Phenomena Vols.

124-126 (2007) pp 1345-1348


Online available since 2007/Jun/15 at www.scientific.net
(2007) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland
doi:10.4028/www.scientific.net/SSP.124-126.1345

Low Temperature Effects on the Fracture Behavior of


Cold-worked STS 304 Stainless Steel for Membrane of LNG Storage Tank
Dosik Kim1,a, Yong-Sun Choo1, Kwon-Pyo Hong1, Jung-Kyu KimM2 and Chul-Su Kim3
1

Irradiated Materials Examination Facility, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute,


150 Duckjin-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-353, Korea

School of Mechanical Engineering, Hanyang University, 17 Haengdang-dong, Sungdong-gu,


Seoul 133-791, Korea
3

Department of Rolling Stocks Mechanical Engineering, Korea National Railroad College,


Wolam-dong, Uiwang-si, Gyeonggi-do 437-763, Korea
a

Corresponding author: kimds@kaeri.re.kr

Keywords: cold-worked STS 304 stainless steel, low temperature, tensile properties, fracture
toughness, critical stretch zone width

Abstract. The temperature dependence of the tensile properties and the fracture toughness of the
cold-worked STS 304 stainless steel have been examined in the temperature range of 293 K to 111 K.
The tensile strength significantly increases with a decrease in temperature, but the 0.2% yield strength
is relatively insensitive to temperature. The total elongation at 193 K abruptly decreases by 50% of
that at 293 K, and it decreases slightly at 193 K to 111 K. The strain hardening exponents at low
temperatures are about four times as high as that at 293K. Initiation fracture toughness (Jc) and tearing
modulus (Tmat) tend to decrease with a decrease in temperature. The Jc values exhibit an inverse
dependency on the effective yield strength (flow) at all the test temperatures. Fractographic
examination revealed that the critical stretch zone width (SZWc) at room temperature was about three
times as large as that at 111 K. This indicates that the variation in fracture toughness according to
temperature corresponds to the decrease in SZWc with decreasing temperature.
Introduction
For the components of cryogenic structures such as LNG (liquefied natural gas) storage tanks, an
essential requirement in the design is to select the material having high strength, high stiffness and
high toughness at cryogenic temperatures [1]. To meet these requirements, the cold-worked STS 304
stainless steel has been developed by POSCO (Pohang Iron & Steel Co., Ltd.) in Korea as a material
for the membrane of LNG storage tanks. Using this material, KOGAS (Korea Gas Corporation) has
developed the new ring knot membrane for LNG tanks. They are also planning to construct large
capacity LNG storage tanks in the years ahead. Up to this time, however, efforts to obtain basic
knowledge and data on the cold-worked STS 304 stainless steel for research and development on
cryogenic appliances have not been sufficiently carried out.
In this study, the tensile and fracture toughness tests of the cold-worked STS 304 stainless steel for
the membrane of LNG storage tanks were conducted in the temperature range of 293 K (20 oC ) to 111
K (-162 oC). The effects of low temperature on strength, ductility and fracture toughness were
estimated experimentally. The correlation between the fracture toughness and the critical stretch zone
width was also examined by fractographic observation.
Experimental Procedure
The material used in this study was a 2mm thick plate of cold-worked STS 304 stainless steel produced
by POSCO in Korea. Its chemical composition is shown in Table 1.

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Advances in Nanomaterials and Processing

Table 1 Chemical compositions (wt%)


C
0.05

Mn
P
1.2 0.021

S
0.008

Si
0.41

Cr
18.02

Ni
8.6

Tensile and J-integral tests were conducted on a 100kN computer controlled servo-hydraulic
testing system with a cryostat. The specimen was kept inside the low temperature chamber where a
temperature was controlled within +/-2 C by spraying LN2 gas. All the tests began after the
temperature had stabilized at 111 K (-162 oC, the service temperature of a LNG tank), 153 K (-120 oC),
193 K (-80 oC) and 293 K (20 oC, room temperature) and the extensometer output was constant. A
thermocouple was positioned at the center portion on the tensile specimen with a gage length of 50
mm and a width of 12.5 mm and near the crack growth path on the compact tension (CT) specimen
with a 2 mm thickness and a 40 mm width. The testing incorporates a personal computer to enable
digital data acquisition and plot a load-displacement curve and J-a curve during the tests. Three
identical specimens were tested at the same test temperature and the results are averaged.
Antibuckling plates were fitted to either side of the CT specimen, which prevent out-of-plane
displacement during J-integral test. In order to investigate the fracture mode at room and low
temperatures, fractographic observation of the fracture surfaces of the tensile and CT specimen was
carried out using a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
Results and Discussion
Tensile Properties. Fig. 1 shows the effects of temperature on the stress-strain behavior of the STS
304 stainless steel plate. As the temperature decreases, the stress-strain curves change from a smooth
parabolic to sigmoidal behavior. The observed variation in the stress-strain curve shape was
consistent with that observed by previous researchers for Fe-18Cr-8Ni alloys [2] and AISI Type 304
stainless steel [3].
1800

80

3000

1600
2500

111K(-162 C)

1400

Strength (MPa)

Stress (MPa)

193K(-80 C)

1000
800
600

293K(20 C)

2000

Elongation

1500

40
Tensile strength

1000

20

Yield strength

400

Elongation (%)

60
o

153K(-120 C)

1200

500

200
0
0.00

0.10

0.20

0.30

0.40

0.50

Strain (mm/mm)

Fig. 1 Engineering stress versus


strain curves

50

100

150

200

250

300

0
350

Temperature (K)

Fig. 2 The temperature dependence of yield


strength, tensile strength and elongation

The temperature dependence of tensile strength, 0.2% yield strength and total elongation are
shown in Fig. 2. The tensile strength at 111 K is about twice as high as that at 293 K, and the 0.2%
yield strength does not change noticeably as the temperature decreases. The total elongation, which is
commonly used as a measure of ductility, significantly decreases at 193 K by nearly 50% of that at 293
K, and then it decreases slightly at 193 K to 111 K. From the SEM fractographs of the fracture surface
of tensile specimen tested at 293 K and 111 K, it is found that fracture surfaces for both the specimens

Solid State Phenomena Vols. 124-126

1347

fractured at 293 K and 111 K are dominated by dimples produced by microvoid coalescence, and the
dimple size is slightly smaller for the specimen fractured at 111K. The strain hardening exponent (n)
can be expressed as a function of true stress (T) and true plastic strain (pT). In this study, the strain
hardening exponent (n) is 0.33 at room temperature (293 K), while n is relatively high ranging from
1.24 to 1.36 over the low temperature range of 193 K to 111K where significant strain-induced
martensitic transformation occurs. Based on the previous researchers study [2,3], it could be found
that the decrease in elongation and the increase in tensile strength as the temperature decreases in STS
304 stainless steel reflect the increased contribution of strain-induced martensite.
Fracture Toughness. In load and load-line displacement curves of the CT specimen, the pop-in,
which indicates the occurrence of unstable plastic deformation or unstable crack extension or both,
does not occur at each unloading point during testing. Thus, in this study, the microvoid coalescence,
which is the ductile micromechanism of fracture, is believed to be the dominant cracking mechanism
at all the test temperatures. Since the thickness of the specimen tested in this study does not meet only
the size requirement but also the requirements of the qualification of data recommended by ASTM [4],
the J-integral values for the onset of stable crack extension are termed as the initiation fracture
toughness (Jc), rather than the plane strain elastic-plastic fracture toughness (JIC). Initiation fracture
toughness (Jc) and tearing modulus (Tmat) [5] are shown as a function of temperature in Figs. 3 and 4,
respectively. It is shown in Fig. 3 that Jc considerably decreases as the temperature decreases to 193 K
and it does not change noticeably between 193 K and 111 K. On the other hand, Fig. 4 indicates that
the Tmat linearly decreases with a decrease in temperature.
300

1200
293K (u = 720.5 MPa)
193K (u = 1162.5 MPa)

1000

200

111K (u = 1495.0 MPa)

800
2

Jc (kJ/m )

Tearing modulus, T mat

153K (u = 1245.0 MPa)

600

400

T m at = 0.429(Temp.)

1.043

100
80
293K

60

193K
153K

200

Jc = 608.68 - 4.32 Temp. + 0.019Temp.

40

111K

30

0
50

100

150

200

250

300

350

Temperature (K)

Fig. 3 The effect of temperature


on initiation fracture toughness (Jc)

80 90100

200

300

400

Tem perature (K)

Fig. 4 The effect of temperature


on tearing modulus (Tmat )

The variations of Jc are plotted as a function of effective yield strength (flow) in Fig. 5. In this
figure, the fracture toughness decreases with an increase in effective yield strength, which is
analogous to the trend for AISI 304 stainless steel [1].
Several researchers have studied quantitatively the relationship between the stretch zone width
(SZW) as a measure of the crack tip plastic blunting and the J-integral [6]. When a fatigue precracked
specimen in metal is loaded, the crack tip blunts, and the stable crack growth initiates at the critical
stretch zone width (SZWc). Fig. 6 shows typical SEM fractographs of the fracture surface at the
midpoint of the specimen thickness after J-integral testing at room (293 K) and low temperature (111
K). In this figure, the SZWc at room temperature is about three times as large as that at 111 K. The
J-test fracture surface at 111 K exhibits relatively small dimples compared with that at room
temperature. Through the fractographic examination, therefore, it is known that the degradation of Jc
and Tmat with decreasing temperature results from the decrease in the SZWc and the size of dimple

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Advances in Nanomaterials and Processing

with decreasing temperature.


2000

1000
800

-1.580

Jc = 1.820E7(flow)

Jc (kJ/m )

600
400

293K (u = 720.5 MPa)

200

193K (u = 1162.5 MPa)


153K (u = 1245.0 MPa)
111K (u = 1495.0 MPa)

100
400

600

800

1000

1200

Effective yield strength, flow (MPa)

Fig. 5 Correlation between initiation


fracture toughness (Jc) and effective
yield strength (flow)

(a) 111 K, ( SZWc ) ave. 10 m (b) 293 K, ( SZWc ) ave. 33m


Fig. 6 Fracture surfaces of CT specimens tested
at 111 K and 293 K

Conclusions
The cold-worked STS 304 stainless steel used for the material of the membrane of LNG storage
tanks was tested to investigate the temperature dependence of the tensile properties and the fracture
toughness in the temperature range of 293 K to 111 K (the service temperature of LNG tanks). The
tensile strength significantly increased with a decrease in temperature, and the 0.2% yield strength
was relatively insensitive to temperature. The total elongation at 193 K abruptly decreased by nearly
50% of that at 293 K, and it decreased slightly at 193 K to 111 K. The strain hardening exponents in
the low temperature range were about four times as high as that at room temperature. The variations in
tensile properties with temperature could be caused by the fact that the strain dependence of the
martensite transformation rate increased with a decrease in temperature. Initiation fracture toughness
(Jc) considerably decreased as the temperature decreased to 193 K, and it did not change noticeably
between 193 K and 111 K. In addition, the tearing modulus (Tmat) linearly decreased with a decrease in
temperature. Initiation fracture toughness (Jc) was inversely related to the effective yield strength
(flow). Fractographic examination revealed that the critical stretch zone width (SZWc) at room
temperature was about three times as large as that at 111 K. This indicates that the variation in fracture
toughness according to temperature corresponds to the decrease in SZWc with decreasing temperature.
References
[1] R.L. Tobler, D.T. Read and R.P. Reed: ASTM STP 743 (1981), p. 250
[2] R.P. Reed and R.L. Tobler: Adv. in Cryogenic Engineering and Materials Vol. 28 (1982), p. 49
[3] G.L. Huang, D.K. Matlock and G. Krauss: Metallurgical Transactions A Vol. 20(A) (1989), p. 1239
[4] Standard Test Method for Measurement of Fracture Toughness, Annual Book of ASTM Standards
E 1820-01 (2001)
[5] P.C. Paris, H. Tada, A. Zahoor and H. Ernst: ASTM STP 668 (1979), p. 5
[6] P.R. Sreenivasan, S.K. Ray, S. Vaidyanathan and P. Rodriguez: Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering
Materials and Structures Vol. 19(7) (1996), p. 855

Advances in Nanomaterials and Processing


10.4028/www.scientific.net/SSP.124-126

Low Temperature Effects on the Fracture Behavior of Cold-Worked STS 304 Stainless Steel for
Membrane of LNG Storage Tank
10.4028/www.scientific.net/SSP.124-126.1345
DOI References
[3] G.L. Huang, D.K. Matlock and G. Krauss: Metallurgical Transactions A Vol. 20(A) (1989), p. 1239
doi:10.1007/BF02647406