Damage accumulation and failure behaviors are crucial concerns during the design and service of a critical component, leading researchers and engineers to thoroughly identifying the crack evolution. Third-generation synchrotron radiation X-ray computed microtomography can be used to detect the inner damage evolution of a large-density material or component. This paper provides a brief review of studying the crack initiation and propagation inside lightweight materials with advanced synchrotron three-dimensional (3D) X-ray imaging, such as aluminum materials. Various damage modes under both static and dynamic loading are elucidated for pure aluminum, aluminum alloy matrix, aluminum alloy metal matrix composite, and aluminum alloy welded joint. For aluminum alloy matrix, metallurgical defects (porosity, void, inclusion, precipitate, etc.) or artificial defects (notch, scratch, pit, etc.) strongly affect the crack initiation and propagation. For aluminum alloy metal matrix composites, the fracture occurs either from the particle debonding or voids at the particle/matrix interface, and the void evolution is closely related with fatigued cycles. For the hybrid laser welded aluminum alloy, fatigue cracks usually initiate from gas pores located at the surface or sub-surface and gradually propagate to a quarter ellipse or a typical semi-ellipse profile.
This paper presents our latest work on comprehensive modeling of process-structure-property relationships for additive manufacturing (AM) materials, including using data-mining techniques to close the cycle of design-predict-optimize. To illustrate the process-structure relationship, the multi-scale multi-physics process modeling starts from the micro-scale to establish a mechanistic heat source model, to the meso-scale models of individual powder particle evolution, and finally to the macro-scale model to simulate the fabrication process of a complex product. To link structure and properties, a high-efficiency mechanistic model, self-consistent clustering analyses, is developed to capture a variety of material response. The model incorporates factors such as voids, phase composition, inclusions, and grain structures, which are the differentiating features of AM metals. Furthermore, we propose data-mining as an effective solution for novel rapid design and optimization, which is motivated by the numerous influencing factors in the AM process. We believe this paper will provide a roadmap to advance AM fundamental understanding and guide the monitoring and advanced diagnostics of AM processing.
Functional periodic structures have attracted significant interest due to their natural capabilities in regulating surface energy, surface effective refractive index, and diffraction. Several technologies are used for the fabrication of these functional structures. The laser interference technique in particular has received attention because of its simplicity, low cost, and high-efficiency fabrication of large-area, micro/nanometer-scale, and periodically patterned structures in air conditions. Here, we reviewed the work on laser interference fabrication of large-area functional periodic structures for antireflection, self-cleaning, and superhydrophobicity based on our past and current research. For the common cases, four-beam interference and multi-exposure of two-beam interference were emphasized for their setup, structure diversity, and various applications for antireflection, self-cleaning, and superhydrophobicity. The relations between multi-beam interference and multi-exposure of two-beam interference were compared theoretically and experimentally. Nanostructures as a template for growing nanocrystals were also shown to present future possible applications in surface chemical control. Perspectives on future directions and applications for laser interference were presented.
Originally developed decades ago, the binder jetting additive manufacturing (BJ-AM) process possesses various advantages compared to other additive manufacturing (AM) technologies such as broad material compatibility and technological expandability. However, the adoption of BJ-AM has been limited by the lack of knowledge with the fundamental understanding of the process principles and characteristics, as well as the relatively few systematic design guideline that are available. In this work, the process design considerations for BJ-AM in green part fabrication were discussed in detail in order to provide a comprehensive perspective of the design for additive manufacturing for the process. Various process factors, including binder saturation, in-process drying, powder spreading, powder feedstock characteristics, binder characteristics and post-process curing, could significantly affect the printing quality of the green parts such as geometrical accuracy and part integrity. For powder feedstock with low flowability, even though process parameters could be optimized to partially offset the printing feasibility issue, the qualities of the green parts will be intrinsically limited due to the existence of large internal voids that are inaccessible to the binder. In addition, during the process development, the balanced combination between the saturation level and in-process drying is of critical importance in the quality control of the green parts.
The mechanical properties of 316L stainless steel repaired with Fe314 under different temperatures and humidities without inert gas protection were studied. Results indicated favorable compatibility between Fe314 and 316L stainless steel. The average yield strength, tensile strength, and sectional contraction percentage were higher in repaired samples than in 316L stainless steel, whereas the elongation rate was slightly lower. The different conditions of humiture environment on the repair sample exerted minimal influence on tensile and yield strengths. The Fe314 cladding layer was mainly composed of equiaxed grains and mixed with randomly oriented columnar crystal and tiny pores or impurities in the tissue. Results indicated that the hardness value of Fe314 cladding layer under different humiture environments ranged within 419–451.1 HV0.2. The field humiture environment also showed minimal impact on the average hardness of Fe314 cladding layers. Furthermore, 316L stainless steel can be repaired through laser cladding by using Fe314 powder without inert gas protection under different temperatures and humidity environments.
Laser melting of aluminium alloy—AlSi10Mg has increasingly been used to create specialised products in various industrial applications, however, research on utilising laser melting of aluminium matrix composites in replacing specialised parts have been slow on the uptake. This has been attributed to the complexity of the laser melting process, metal/ceramic feedstock for the process and the reaction of the feedstock material to the laser. Thus, an understanding of the process, material microstructure and mechanical properties is important for its adoption as a manufacturing route of aluminium metal matrix composites. The effects of several parameters of the laser melting process on the mechanical blended composite were thus investigated in this research. This included single track formations of the matrix alloy and the composite alloyed with 5% and 10% respectively for their reaction to laser melting and the fabrication of density blocks to investigate the relative density and porosity over different scan speeds. The results from these experiments were utilised in determining a process window in fabricating near-fully dense parts.
3D printing has opened new horizons for the manufacturing industry in general, and 3D printers have become the tools for technological advancements. There is a huge divide between the pricing of industrial and desktop 3D printers with the former being on the expensive side capable of producing excellent quality products and latter being on the low-cost side with moderate quality results. However, there is a larger room for improvements and enhancements for the desktop systems as compared to the industrial ones. In this paper, a desktop 3D printer called Prusa Mendel i2 has been modified and integrated with an additional extruder so that the system can work with dual extruders and produce bespoke electronic circuits. The communication between the two extruders has been established by making use of the In-Chip Serial Programming port on the Arduino Uno controlling the printer. The biggest challenge is to control the flow of electric paint (to be dispensed by the new extruder) and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis has been carried out to ascertain the optimal conditions for proper dispensing. The final product is a customised electronic circuit with the base of plastic (from the 3D printer’s extruder) and electronic paint (from the additional extruder) properly dispensed to create a live circuit on a plastic platform. This low-cost enhancement to a desktop 3D printer can provide a new prospect to produce multiple material parts where the additional extruder can be filled with any material that can be properly dispensed from its nozzle.
Polyethylene (PE) pipe, particularly high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, has been successfully utilized to transport cooling water for both non-safety- and safety-related applications in nuclear power plant (NPP). Though ASME Code Case N755, which is the first code case related to NPP HDPE pipe, requires a thorough nondestructive examination (NDE) of HDPE joints. However, no executable regulations presently exist because of the lack of a feasible NDE technique for HDPE pipe in NPP. This work presents a review of current developments in NDE technology for both HDPE pipe in NPP with a diameter of less than 400 mm and that of a larger size. For the former category, phased array ultrasonic technique is proven effective for inspecting typical defects in HDPE pipe, and is thus used in Chinese national standards GB/T 29460 and GB/T 29461. A defect-recognition technique is developed based on pattern recognition, and a safety assessment principle is summa-rized from the database of destructive testing. On the other hand, recent research and practical studies reveal that in current ultrasonic-inspection technology, the absence of effective ultrasonic inspection for large size was lack of consideration of the viscoelasticity effect of PE on acoustic wave propagation in current ultrasonic inspection techno-logy. Furthermore, main technical problems were analyzed in the paper to achieve an effective ultrasonic test method in accordance to the safety and efficiency requirements of related regulations and standards. Finally, the development trend and challenges of NDE test technology for HDPE in NPP are discussed.
Fracture toughness measurement is an integral part of structural integrity assessment of pipelines. Traditionally, a single-edge-notched bend (SE(B)) specimen with a deep crack is recommended in many existing pipeline structural integrity assessment procedures. Such a test provides high constraint and therefore conservative fracture toughness results. However, for girth welds in service, defects are usually subjected to primarily tensile loading where the constraint is usually much lower than in the three-point bend case. Moreover, there is increasing use of strain-based design of pipelines that allows applied strains above yield. Low-constraint toughness tests represent more realistic loading conditions for girth weld defects, and the corresponding increased toughness can minimize unnecessary conservatism in assessments. In this review, we present recent developments in low-constraint fracture toughness testing, specifically using single-edge-notched tension specimens, SENT or SE(T). We focus our review on the test procedure development and automation, round-robin test results and some common concerns such as the effect of crack tip, crack size monitoring techniques, and testing at low temperatures. Examples are also given of the integration of fracture toughness data from SE(T) tests into structural integrity assessment.
The skirt-to-shell junction weld on coke drums is susceptible to fatigue failure due to severe thermal cyclic stresses. One method to decrease junction stress is to add slots near the top of the skirt, thereby reducing the local stiffness close to the weld. The most common skirt slot design is thin relative to its circumferential spacing. A new slot design, which is significantly wider, is proposed. In this study, thermal-mechanical elastoplastic 3-D finite element models of coke drums are created to analyze the effect of different skirt designs on the stress/strain field near the shell-to-skirt junction weld, as well as any other critical stress locations in the overall skirt design. The results confirm that the inclusion of the conventional slot design effectively reduces stress in the junction weld. However, it has also been found that the critical stress location migrates from the shell-to-skirt junction weld to the slot ends. A method is used to estimate the fatigue life near the critical areas of each skirt slot design. It is found that wider skirt slots provide a significant improvement on fatigue life in the weld and slot area.
The thermal hydraulic (TH) behavior of coo-lant water is a key factor in the structural integrity assessments on reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) of pressurized water reactors (PWRs) under pressurized thermal shock (PTS) events, because the TH behavior may affect the loading conditions in the assessment. From the viewpoint of TH behavior, configuration of plant equipment and their dimensions, and operator action time considerably influence various parameters, such as the temperature and flow rate of coolant water and inner pressure. In this study, to investigate the influence of the operator action time on TH behavior during a PTS event, we developed an analysis model for a typical Japanese PWR plant, including the RPV and the main components of both primary and secondary systems, and performed TH analyses by using a system analysis code called RELAP5. We applied two different operator action times based on the Japanese and the United States (US) rules: Operators may act after 10 min (Japanese rules) and 30 min (the US rules) after the occurrence of PTS events. Based on the results of TH analysis with different operator action times, we also performed structural analyses for evaluating thermal-stress distributions in the RPV during PTS events as loading conditions in the structural integrity assessment. From the analysis results, it was clarified that differences in operator action times significantly affect TH behavior and loading conditions, as the Japanese rule may lead to lower stresses than that under the US rule because an earlier operator action caused lower pressure in the RPV.
A balancing method without trial weights based on the dynamic similitude scale model was proposed as a solution to the balancing problem of a large-scale rotor system. This method could be used to directly obtain the required coefficients for the balancing problem of the prototype system through a similarity model test without a prototype test. Thus, the weight test process of the prototype system was effectively eliminated in the proposed balancing method. First, with the rotor system as the research object, the analytical expression of the influence coefficient was derived on the basis of rotor dynamics theory. Then, through calculation and dimensional analysis methods, the similitude relationships of the rotor system and the influence coefficient were deduced on the basis of dynamic similitude theory. The correctness of the proposed similitude relationships was verified through numerical simulation and experiment. The balancing method without trial weights was proposed based on the similitude relationship of the influence coefficient. The effect of the balancing method without trial weights was compared with that of the traditional influence coefficient method through numerical simulation, and the results verified the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed balancing method. The results of this study provide theoretical supplements for the balancing method and the similitude design of the rotor system.