Stress relaxation and constant displacement rate tensile tests were performed on poly-crystalline GTD111 alloy material removed from General Electric MS6001B first stage combustion turbine buckets. Samples were examined in the standard heat treated condition, thermally exposed at 900°C for 5000 hours and from service run buckets. Creep rates of the material were measured and evaluated directly in terms of temperature capability at 850°C and 900°C. Stress relaxation tests done at 0.8% total strain indicated that the creep rate properties in the service exposed airfoil were an order of magnitude higher than the material properties in the standard heat treated condition measured in the root form. In terms of temperature capability, the creep rate properties of the service run airfoil material had decreased by the equivalent of almost 40°C.

The stress relaxation test method was demonstrated to be a very useful tool in quantifying the degradation of creep properties in service run components. Creep data that would require years to gather using conventional creep tests was generated in a few days. This now makes realistic life assessment and repair / replace decisions possible during turbine overhauls.

The test method’s unique ability to measure changes in creep rate over a large stress range, enabled the technique to distinguish between changes in creep strength due to (normal) microstructural evolution from the combined effects of microstructural evolution and strain related creep damage.

A method for estimating standard constant load creep rupture life from the stress relaxation creep rate data is also presented along with time-temperature parameter correlations. The data sets examined in this study indicate that creep rupture lives can be estimated within a factor of three from the stress relaxation data.

The information and analysis techniques described in this paper are directly applicable to metallurgical life assessment evaluations and the re-qualification of repaired General Electric buckets in Frame 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 engine models.

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