Understanding Metal Creep Stages Prevention, Part 2

metal creep stages prevention
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Understanding Metal Creep Stages Prevention, Part 2

metal creep stages prevention

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over several of the important factors to be aware of when it comes to metal creep deformation. One of several metal deformation types possible, metal creep can lead to major damage and even complete failure in certain metals, creating significant hazards for both humans and various processes.

At Wasatch Steel, we’re proud to offer not only high-quality steel products and steel services, but also expertise on all our materials, including whether they may be susceptible to creep or other forms of deformation. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over the final stage of metal creep, plus some common applications where creep often plays a role and how you can avoid metal creep risks altogether.

Stage 3

Stage three of the creep process, also known as tertiary creep, is the final one during standard creep deformation instances. As we noted in stages one and two, microstructural damage has not yet begun for either of those stages – stage three is where this changes.

Once this damage begins taking place on the metal’s microstructure, the strain rate of the metal accelerates significantly. This leads to even further deterioration of the microstructure, getting worse and worse with each passing minute. After enough voids are present in the microstructure, the metal begins to fracture and will eventually completely fail.

Common Creep Applications

There are certain industries where, due to the properties required in metal and the processes they go through, creep is more common with some parts than others. Automobile frames, for instance, are not particularly susceptible to creep because they’re designed to have strong impact strength, meaning they have low static loads and operating temperatures – low risks for creep.

Automobile engines, on the other hand, are subject to heavy loads and extremely high temperatures due to engine combustion. For this reason, if the right material isn’t used for such an engine, creep is a real risk. This means other high-heat and high-stress applications may pose risks of metal creep, such as jet engines, nuclear power, industrial engines and various forms of high-temperature pressurized piping.

Avoiding Creep Risks

There are a few methods for limiting the risk of metal creep, including:

  • Lower the working temperature of the metal being used (where possible)
  • Reduce the constant load being placed on the metal (where possible)
  • Use a metal with large grains, which will cause less grain boundary sliding
  • Utilize certain alloying element additions that will eliminate vacancies in the metal’s microstructure, thereby removing creep risk.

For more on metal creep and how to avoid it, or to learn about any of our steel bar, steel pipe or other steel products and services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.