Heat-to-heat variation of creep strength is significant in grade 91 (Gr.91) steel, but the causes of the variation have not been well understood yet. In the present paper, creep rupture data of 14 heats of Gr.91 steel were analyzed paying attention to their chemical compositions and microstructures. The longest creep rupture lives analyzed are 2×105 h at 500 and 550 °C and 105 h at 600 °C. The causes of the heat-to-heat variation are different, depending on creep test conditions. At low temperature and high stress (creep rupture life of 104 h at 500 and 550 °C), creep rupture strength increases with increase of hardness after tempering. This suggests strengthening by a fine subgrain microstructure developed during normalizing and subsequent tempering. At higher temperature and intermediate time range (104 h at 600 °C), creep rupture strength depends on Cr concentration of the heats in addition to the hardness. This finding suggests an important contribution of recovery process of the subgrain microstructures to creep strength of the steel. In long-term creep (2×105 h at 550 °C and 105 h at 600 °C) creep rupture strength primarily increases with increasing grain size of the heats. This suggests that grain boundary sliding is an important deformation mode at low strain rate because of fine grain size usual with Gr.91 steel. Specifications on Ni concentration and N%/Al% ratio are newly introduced in the type II version of Gr.91 steel. They are not effective to eliminate a heat with low creep strength.
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