In order to clarify the characteristics of high-cycle fatigue of the modified 9Cr-1Mo steel, a high temperature rotary bending test was carried out. As a result, the fatigue strength of this alloy decreased monotonically at elevated temperatures. It decreased from 440 MPa at room temperature to about 350 MPa at 400°C. This decrease of the fatigue strength was attributed to the temperature dependence of the yielding strength of this alloy. The fatigue limit appeared near 107 cycles at 400°C, whereas it appeared around 106 cycles at room temperature. The most important result is that the fatigue limit disappeared up to 108 cycles at temperatures higher than 500°C. Thus, the number of cycles at which the fatigue limit appeared shifted to higher cycles with increasing the testing temperature. Clear striation was observed in the stable crack growth region on the fracture surface of all the specimen tested at room temperature, 400°C, 500°C, 550°C, and 600°C. Intergranular cracking, which have been observed in creep-fatigue tests, was not observed. Since the estimated operating temperature of FBR is 550°C, it is very important to consider this fatigue strength in the structural and reliability design of the modified 9Cr-1Mo steel.
In this study, the change of crystallinity of this alloy under fatigue loading was also analyzed by applying an EBSD method. The image quality (IQ) value obtained from the analysis was used for the quantitative evaluation of the crystallinity in the area where an electron beam of 20 nm in diameter was irradiated. The quality of the atomic alignment was found to degrade under the cyclic loading, and a crack started to occur on the surface of the alloy when the quality of the atomic alignment decreased to a certain critical value.