Crack initiation of the ferritic martensitic steel T91 and austenitic steel 316L is currently under study. This is due to the evaluation ongoing in the EC for materials compatibility in Heavy Liquid Metals (HLM) environment, and, in particular, the issue of Liquid Metal Embrittlement.Slow Strain Rate Tensile (SSRT) tests were performed with flat specimens in PbBi at 300°C with oxygen content in the range of about 10-6 wt.% down to 10-12 wt.% and, for comparison in air, up to the point of maximal stress (without or with minimum necking). Tests were performed with flat tapered specimens, which were meant to create a uniform variation of stress along the gauge length, with the maximum stress concentrated in the smallest cross-section area.The cracking mode of T91 changed due to environment influence when compared to the testing in air, however the austenitic 316L seemed unaffected, even though at the lowest oxygen content, the crack numbers and morphology changed. Post-tests examinations were carried out with a Scanning Electron Microscope.Keywords: ferritic-martensitic steel, austenitic steel, lead-bismuth eutectic, tapered, crack initiation
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