Characterisation of microstructures, deformation, and fatigue damage in different steels using Magnetic Barkhausen Emission technique

Baldev, R. ; Jayakumar, T. ; Moorthy, V. ; Vaidyanathan, S. (2001) Characterisation of microstructures, deformation, and fatigue damage in different steels using Magnetic Barkhausen Emission technique Russian Journal of Nondestructive Testing, 37 (11). pp. 789-798. ISSN 1061-8309

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The characterization of microstructures, mechanical properties, deformation, damage initiation, and growth by Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) techniques is assuming a vital role in various industries because of the growing awareness of the benefits that can be derived by using NDE techniques for assessing the performance of various components. NDE is widely applied for assessment of material degradation, where investment in new plants is not cost-effective and safe operational life of existing plants needs to be extended. In recent years, various advanced NDE techniques have been successfully employed for characterization of defects and microstructural features such as grain size, texture, nucleation and growth of second phases, assessment of tensile, creep and fatigue properties, deformation, and damage. With the advent of fracture mechanics concepts, microstructure, defects as well as stresses must be quantitatively characterized to have reliable and fail-safe materials and components. Any alteration in the microstructure, which reduces the life or performance, should be predicted sufficiently in advance in order to ensure safe, reliable, and economic operation of the components. This is possible when one realizes that the interaction of the nondestructive probing medium with the material depends on the substructural/microstructural features such as point defects, dislocations, voids, micro and macro cracks, secondary phases, texture, residual stress, etc. In this paper, use of Magnetic Barkhausen Emission technique for characterization of microstructures, deformation, and fatigue damage in different steels would be discussed. When a ferromagnetic material is subjected to a varying magnetic field, the magnetic flux densidy during magnetization varies in discrete steps as the magnetic domain walls have to overcome various types of obstacles during their movement. The discrete changes in magnetization induce electric voltage pulses in pickup coil placed near the surface of ferromagnetic materials. This noise like voltage pulses were, firstly observed by Barkhausen in 1919 and this phenomenon is named as magnetic Barkhausen Noise (MBN) or magnetic Barkhausen emission (MBE). Based on the two stage magnetization process modeled by the authors, the size of the grain/lath and carbides in ferritic steels could be correlated with MBE parameters. The influence of morphology of cementite (lamellar and spheroidized) on the MBE behaviour has been understood. Various stages of tensile deformation, viz. (i) perfectly elastic, (ii) micro-plastic yielding, (iii) macroyielding, and (iv) progressive plastic deformation in ferritic steels could be identified using the MBE parameters. The hardening depth and its quality with respect to the microstructure in induction hardened specimens could also be established using the MBE technique. MBE is found to be highly sensitive in detection of stress induced martensite in stainless steels with metastable austenite phase. Different stages of fatigue damage in 9Cr-1Mo steel, viz. (i) cyclic hardening, (ii) softening, (iii) saturation, and (iv) crack initiation could be identified using the MBE parameters.

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