Silicon-deoxidized, tempered bainitic 1 percent CrMoV steel is currently used extensively for high-temperature steam turbine rotor forgings operating at temperatures up to 565°C due to its excellent creep rupture properties and relative economy. There is impetus to improve the creep rupture strength of this steel while maintaining its current toughness level and vice versa. The excellent creep rupture ductility of the low Si version of this steel allows the use of a higher austenitizing temperature or tensile strength level for improving creep rupture strength without loss in creep ductility or toughness. When the tensile strength of this steel is increased from 785 to 854 MPa, the creep rupture strength exceeds that of the more expensive martensitic 12CrMoVCbN steel currently used for high-temperature rotor applications where additional creep rupture strength is required. The toughness of 1 percent CrMoV steel is improved by lowering the bainite start (Bs) temperature in a “superclean” base composition which is essentially free of Mn, Si, P, S, Sb, As and Sn. The Bs temperature can be lowered through the addition of alloying elements (i.e., C, Ni, Cr, and Mo) and/or increasing the cooling rate from the austenitizing temperature. Using these techniques, the 50 percent FATT can be lowered from approximately 100°C to below room temperature, which provides the opportunity to eliminate the special precautionary procedures currently used in the startup and shutdown of steam turbines. The most promising steels in terms of creep rupture and toughness properties contain 2.5 percent Ni and 0.04 percent Cb (for austenite grain refinement and enhanced tempering resistance). In general, the creep rupture strength of the superclean steels equals or exceeds that of the standard 1 percent CrMoV steel. In addition, the superclean steels have not been found to be susceptible to temper embrittlement, nor do they alter the room temperature fatigue crack propagation characteristics of the standard 1 percent CrMoV steel. These new steels may also find application in combination high-temperature-low-temperature rotors and gas turbine rotors.

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