Results of online acoustic emission (AE) monitoring during fatigue crack growth rate (FCGR) experiments on a stainless steel SS 316 LN are presented in this paper. Two specimen geometries — viz., standard compact tension (C(T)) specimens as well as side-grooved C(T) specimens were considered for experiments at ambient temperature and at 600°C (873K). There is a good correspondence between crack length increment and the increase in AE cumulative count and cumulative energy during the experiments. The side grove introduced on the thickness direction of the test specimen constrains the plastic zone ahead of the crack tip, thereby enforcing plane strain conditions at the crack. Reduced AE activity at initial stages of crack growth was observed for side grooved samples. The transition to Stage-II crack growth was observed using acoustic emission (AE) technique which otherwise was not visible from the fatigue crack growth plot.

The work further attempts to correlate the AE parameters obtained during elevated temperature (873K) fatigue crack growth in stainless steel. For the purpose of acquiring AE signals outside the heated zone, a waveguide was used to transmit the acoustic waves from the specimen at high temperature. A correlation between crack advance and AE parameters was obtained from the elevated temperature tests.

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