Open Access
Issue
Sci. Tech. Energ. Transition
Volume 78, 2023
Article Number 6
Number of page(s) 14
DOI https://doi.org/10.2516/stet/2023002
Published online 10 March 2023

© The Author(s), published by EDP Sciences, 2023

Licence Creative CommonsThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Nomenclature

LNG: Liquefied Natural Gas

NG: Natural Gas

MR: Mixed Refrigerant

Symbols

a : Coefficient

b : Coefficient

C : Coefficient of S-N curve

k : Coefficient of S-N curve

Kf : Fatigue strength reduction factor

Ke : Fatigue penalty factor

Kv : Poisson rate correction factor

m : Material constant used for the fatigue knock-down factor

n : Material constant used for the fatigue knock-down factor

N : Fatigue life

S : Stress amplitude, MPa

Sy : Material yield strength at the mean temperature, MPa

Salt : Equivalent alternating stress amplitude, MPa

SPS : Allowable limit value in the range of primary plus secondary equivalent stress, MPa

X : Raw data

Xmin : The minimum value in raw data

Xmax : The maximum value in raw data

Xnorm : The data after normalization processing

f : Fin thickness, mm

g : Fin distance, mm

TMR : MR temperature, K

PNG : NG pressure, MPa

δ : Brazing seam thickness, mm

h : Fin height, mm

ΔT : Difference between NG temperature and MR temperature, K

Ylife-cycles : Fatigue life of brazing structure

σeq : von-Mises equivalent stress, MPa

: Equivalent thermal stress, MPa

: Equivalent structure stress, MPa

: Stress tensor at the evaluation location when located in the valley point moments, MPa

: Stress tensor at the evaluation location when located in the peak point moments, MPa

: Stress tensor due to local thermal stress in the location and time point at the valley point, MPa

: Stress tensor due to local thermal stress in the location and time point at the peak point, MPa

νp : Modified Poisson ratio

νe : Elastic Poisson ratio

: Range of stress tensor due to local thermal stress at the evaluation location, MPa

Δσij : Range of stress tensor at the evaluation location, MPa

ΔSstr : Equivalent structural stress range of each load cycle, MPa

ΔSp : Range of primary plus secondary plus peak equivalent stress, MPa

ΔSth : Local equivalent thermal stress, MPa

ΔSn : Range of primary plus secondary equivalent stress, MPa

1 Introduction

As a critical piece of equipment in the cryogenic treatment process of natural gas liquefaction [1, 2], aluminum plate-fin heat exchangers have been widely used because of their compact structure [3, 4], moderate pressure drop [5], light weight [6], large heat transfer area [7], excellent heat transfer efficiency [8, 9], simultaneous multiple media heat transfer [10, 11] and other advantages. Usually, the heat exchanger will be accompanied by frequent cool-down and heat-up during the daily operation. During this process, the heat exchanger will expand and contract rapidly as its temperature and pressure change. And inside the heat exchanger, the thermal stress cycles will eventually generate [12, 13]. This will induce to generate alternating stress, and fatigue failure will have occurred in the heat exchanger.

Currently, experiments [14] and finite element methods [15] have primarily been used to study the fatigue failure of heat exchangers. These studies were primarily concerned with heat exchanger fatigue failure at high temperatures and pressures [16, 17]. For example, the steady-state method was used to investigate heat exchanger fatigue failure under high-pressure conditions [18]. At the joint location of tube-tube sheets, the maximum equivalent thermal stress has occurred, the temperature gradient at this location is higher than in other regions, and the life cycles are shortest. At the same time, some experiments and microstructure analyses were also done to evaluate the failure behavior of heat exchangers in [19, 20]. It can be obtained that the main failure model is the creep and fatigue under high temperature-pressure conditions. Additionally, a comparison is also made between the failure models at the same design parameter [21]. It can be seen that creep failure should be emphasized in high temperature conditions because the influence of creep is greater than that of fatigue. Moreover, the influence of material properties [22], geometry [23, 24], and operation parameters [25] was also investigated for the structural strength of heat exchangers. The main factors have been obtained to impact that. In summary, the heat exchanger damage caused by creep and fatigue under high temperature and pressure is the main focus of the above investigations. The fatigue damage of heat exchangers is mainly ductile thermal fatigue failure under high temperature-pressure conditions. Under the cryogenic condition, the influence of creep can be completely negligible for heat exchanger failure. And the failure model will mainly belong to the cryogenic brittle [26] or ductile–brittle thermal fatigue damage [27] at this condition.

Meanwhile, several scholars have also studied plate-fin heat exchanger failure behavior under cryogenic conditions [28, 29]. For example, the strength of heat exchangers has been analyzed in the different operation processes in our previous works [30, 31], and the optimum operation method has also been proposed to ensure heat exchanger safety operation. In addition, there has also been considered the effect of the structure and operation characteristics of plate-fin heat exchangers when investigating their strength [32, 33]. And some key elements are discovered that have an impact on its safe operation. However, the fatigue failure of heat exchangers has not been deeply investigated under cryogenic circumstances. The aluminum brazing structure with fin-plate-side bar (also called the brazing structure) of plate-fin heat exchangers is easily broken. If the structure parameters are unreasonably selected in the designing and manufacturing process, it will accelerate the fatigue failure of heat exchangers. Consequently, it is necessary that the fatigue failure of brazing structures at the different structure parameters will be further investigated under the cryogenic thermal-structural cyclic stress condition.

In this paper, an analysis of the alternating stress within cryogenic brazing structures will be carried out through the use of a Finite Element Model (FEM). Then, the continuous cool-down and heat-up conditions will be used to calculate the alternating stress. Based on the ASME standard, the fatigue life of brazing structures will be evaluated according to the maximum alternating stress amplitude. Meanwhile, the impact of structural characteristics on fatigue life of it will also be studied for brazing structures. In addition, it will be established a fatigue life calculation model, and the fatigue life of brazing structures will be evaluated in accordance with this model. Finally, the fatigue life of brazing structures will also be tested by a fatigue experiment, and the microstructure will be analyzed for the fatigue fracture surface of that.

2 Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

2.1 FEA model

Figure 1 is the diagram of brazing structures. The brazing structure is mainly composed of plate, fin and side bar. They will be stacked and staggered in terms of the design requirements and finally brazed in a vacuum brazing furnace. According to refs. [32, 33], the impact of layer and channel numbers on the results will not be considered in the simulation. So an analysis of brazing structure fatigue life will be carried out using a finite element model. In this model, the channel and fin layer numbers are 9 and 4, respectively. Meanwhile, in order to evaluate the fatigue life of brazing structures, a small distance in the z-direction will be used since the heat exchanger will have a relatively small temperature gradient along its length. In addition, a semi-symmetric structure will be applied in this model due to the repeatability and symmetry of brazing structures. The semi-symmetric model of brazing structure is shown in Figure 2. Table 1 is the structure characteristics parameters of brazing structures.

thumbnail Figure 1

The diagram of brazing structures.

thumbnail Figure 2

The semi-symmetric model of brazing structures.

Table 1

The structure characteristic parameter of brazing structures (along the y-direction).

2.2 Boundary condition

Due to the effect of pressure and temperature fields during actual operation, the brazing structure will experience thermal-structural stress. In this paper, the coupling approach of thermal and structure will be used to assess how thermal stress and structure stress are distributed in brazing structures. The boundary conditions are shown as follows.

To represent the convective heat transfer process between NG/MR and the wall of brazing structures, the convective heat transfer boundary will be loaded on the surface between NG/MR and the brazing structure. Similarly, in order to express the effect of MR pressure or NG pressure on the surface of brazing structures, the pressure boundary will also be loaded on the surface between NG/MR and the brazing structure.

Additionally, due to the symmetry of brazing structures, the adiabatic and symmetry boundary will also be used on the right wall of that. At the same time, in order to express the free sliding of brazing structures along the horizontal direction of support structures, there will be a fixed boundary imposed on the bottom surface in the y-direction. The external load action will not be considered in this paper. The contacts between plate and fin will be implemented by the Bonded from ANSYS software. Figure 3 is the diagram of the boundary conditions.

thumbnail Figure 3

The diagram of boundary condition.

2.3 Physical properties of AL3003/AL4004

In this paper, the side bar, the fins and plates, and the brazing seam will be made of AL3003 and AL4004, respectively. The elastic-plastic theory will be used to analyze the fatigue of brazing structures. The temperature has a stronger impact on the elastic modulus and thermal expansion coefficient of AL3003/AL4004 according to the literature [32, 33]. Therefore, the effect of temperature will be considered for that Table 2 is the physical properties of AL3003/AL4004.

Table 2

The physical properties of AL3003/AL4004.

2.4 Mesh verification

In this section, the model shown in Figure 2 will be discretized by the structured grid, and the grid will be intensified in sensitive regions, such as the brazed joint. Compared with other areas, the brazed joint will have denser nodes, as shown in Figure 4. It is necessary to study the impact of grid node numbers on the calculation results at the hMR = 1000 W/(m2 K), hNG = 1500 W/(m2 K), PMR = 0.4 MPa, PNG = 7.1 MPa, TMR = 150 K and TNG = 155 K to ensure simulation accuracy and save time. At the same time, four grid groups of 152,530, 198,450, 247,965 and 272,380 nodes are chosen to study the stress conditions of brazing structures, respectively. Figure 5 shows the relationship between stress and the total number of nodes. It can be found that the stress approximately remains constant when the total number of nodes is changed from 247,965 to 272,380. Therefore, we will use a brazing structure consisting of 272,380 grid nodes to study its fatigue life in this work.

thumbnail Figure 4

Local mesh.

thumbnail Figure 5

The relationship between stress and the total number of nodes.

3 Fatigue analysis

3.1 Fatigue cycle

The fatigue life study of brazing structures in this paper will take into account the influence of pressure and temperature load for it. The convective boundary and the NG/MR pressure, respectively, will be used to define the thermal and pressure load.

The alternating stress in the brazing structure is very small during normal operation according to the literature. However, the alternating stress during the cool-down and heat-up operation is relatively higher compared with normal operation [34]. Therefore, the fatigue failure of brazed structures is analyzed under the continuous cool-down and heat-up cycles in this paper. At the same time, the brazed structure will generate cyclic alternating stress due to frequent cool-down and heat-up during the daily operation. This will eventually induce the fatigue failure of brazed structures [35]. The cyclic alternating stress will appear a maximum and minimum peak values in the fatigue cycle process, which are defined as peak and valley points. According to the calculation results, the peak and valley point will appear at the following two conditions from Table 3. Figure 6 shows the variation of NG or MR temperature and pressure during the cool-down and heat-up cycle. Meanwhile, the cycle load spectrum is also determined in terms of the peak and valley point of brazed structures in the frequent cool-down and heat-up cycle [36].

thumbnail Figure 6

The variation of temperature and pressure.

Table 3

The peak and valley condition.

3.2 Fatigue Assessment Method

In this paper, the ASME standard will be used to evaluate the fatigue life of brazing structures [37]. In the calculation method of alternating stress amplitude, some factors have been considered in this standard, including the weld type and material, heat exchanger surface finish, local notch or effect of the weld and so on. Thus, the following equation can be used to express the alternating stress amplitude in accordance with the ASME standard:(1)

According to the equation above, Salt will be mainly calculated by ΔSstr and ΔSth. Kf, Ke and Kv will be used to further revise the calculation results. In this work, based on von Mises stress criterion, the thermal and structural stress of brazing structure will be analyzed during continuous cool-down and heat-up cycles by ANSYS software, and then the equivalent thermal and structural stress are obtained. Calculation of the equivalent structure stress range and equivalent local thermal stress range for each load cycle will be carried out based on the following equation:(2) (3)

According to equations (2) and (3), the equivalent structure and equivalent local thermal stress range of each load cycle will be related to the stress tensor range. They can be written as:(4) (5)

In equation (1), the value of Kf is 2.5 [37]. Meanwhile, the progressive deformation behavior due to alternating stress will be modified by the Ke [38, 39], it can be obtained by the following equations [37]:(6)

The material constants m and n are dependent on the hardening process and material characteristics, are used for the fatigue knock-down factor in the simplified elastic-plastic analysis. The results of finite element analysis in this work show that the equivalent stress amplitude of the sum of primary and secondary equivalent stress would be less than the allowed limit (175 MPa). So the Ke will be assumed to be 1.0 according to equation (6). Therefore, and will not be considered in this paper. Additionally, the value of Kv in equation (1) will be calculated by the following equation [37]. In this paper, the value of Kv is about 0.3 [40, 41].(7) (8)

After obtaining the equivalent structure and thermal stress by the FEA method in Section 2, the amplitude of equivalent alternating stress can be obtained by substituting that into equation (1). Then, the life cycles can be calculated in terms of the comparison between the equivalent alternating stress and the S-N curve. In fact, the fatigue life is mainly related to the equivalent alternating stress and material properties. During the process of cool-down and heat-up cycles, the equivalent alternating stress will be eventually generated in the brazing structures due to the combined action of structure and thermal tress induced by temperature and pressure, respectively. And the uniaxial fatigue test is only a way to generate the equivalent alternating stress inside material. So it should be feasible to apply the uniaxial N-S curve to analyze the fatigue life when the material is isotropic. In this paper, the uniaxial S-N curve obtained by the group test method, which the survival probability is about 95% will be used to calculate the life cycles [42]. The expression of the S-N curve is as follows:(9)

The logarithm is taken on both sides of the above equation.(10)among(11)The values of a and b will be determined using the least-squares method, which are 3.0564 and −0.25373, respectively.

4 Result and discussion

4.1 Fatigue assessment

The brazed joint is the weakest part of brazing structures, which makes this area prone to fatigue failure. The brazed joint regions (as shown in Fig. 2) will be selected to analyze the alternating stress and to evaluate the fatigue failure of brazing structures in this work.

Figures 7 and 8 show the distribution of equivalent alternating stress amplitude at the brazed joint and maximum shear stresses. Compared to the other location, the brazed joint has higher maximum shear stress and equivalent alternating stress amplitudes. They will reach a peak of 79.14 MPa and 153.45 MPa, respectively. The gradient is very large at the brazed joint. This is because the material properties between the base metal and brazing seam are incompletely matched, and the thermal expansion and cold contraction are incompletely synchronized and constrained to a certain extent. The stress transfer inside the brazing structure will be blocked at the brazed joint. So a higher stress gradient will be induced at the brazed joint and the surrounding area. The high amplitude of equivalent alternating stress will eventually be generated at this location with the stress concentrations gradually accumulating. And the fatigue failure will most likely occur at this location. According to the ASME standard, the fatigue life at the brazing joint will be calculated and the life cycle is about 3311.

thumbnail Figure 7

The distribution of equivalent alternating stress amplitude at the brazed joint of brazing structures.

thumbnail Figure 8

The distribution of maximum shear stress at the brazed joint of brazing structures.

4.2 The influence of structure parameters

This section will analyze the relationship between the life cycles of brazing structures and structure parameters based on the ASME standard and equivalent alternating stress amplitude calculated by the FEM, and further investigate the impact law of structure parameters on fatigue life.

4.2.1 The brazing seam thickness

The relationship between life cycles and brazing seam thickness at various plate thicknesses is shown in Figure 9. The results demonstrate that life cycles have an approximately parabolic relationship with brazing seam thickness and will gradually decrease with brazing seam thickness increase. In other words, the larger brazing seam thickness is, the smaller life cycle is. At the same time, it can also be found from Figure 9 that the plate thickness will have a slight impact on life cycles. In order to further investigate how brazing seam thickness impacts fatigue life, Figure 10 also shows the relationship between stresses and brazing seam thickness at various plate thicknesses. It is clear that as the brazing seam thickness gradually increases, so will the thermal and structural stress. At the same time, the plate thickness will have a slight effect on the stress. In actuality, the temperature gradient at the brazed joint will be the main cause to induce the thermal stresses at this location. Increasing the brazing seam thickness will change the temperature distribution and further increase the temperature gradient at the brazed joint. This will be the main reason thermal stresses gradually increase with the brazing seam thickness. Meanwhile, the decrease of life cycles with the brazing seam thickness will be collectively induced by the thermal and structural stresses. And the brazing seam thickness should be a sensitive factor to impact the fatigue life of brazing structures.

thumbnail Figure 9

The life cycles vs. brazing seam thickness.

thumbnail Figure 10

The stresses vs. brazing seam thickness.

4.2.2 The fin height

The relationship between life cycles and fin height at various side bar lengths is shown in Figure 11. The results show that the life cycles are approximately linear and gradually decrease with the increase of fin height, while the side bar length has little impact on it. Meanwhile, the relationship between stresses and fin height is also given in Figure 12. It can be found that the structure stress will gradually increase with the fin height while the thermal stress will approximately constant with that. Meanwhile, the stress will also be slightly influenced by the side bar length. In other words, the structure stress will be the main reason to induce the decrease of life cycles with the fin height, which is also a sensitive factor to effect the fatigue life. Compared with Figure 9, the life cycles will linearly decrease with the fin height while nonlinearly decrease with brazing seam thickness. This may be because the thermal stresses will obviously increase with the brazing seam thickness at the brazed joint due to the change of temperature gradient, and the fin height has a slight impact on it.

thumbnail Figure 11

The life cycles vs. fin height.

thumbnail Figure 12

The stresses vs. fin height.

4.2.3 The fin distance

The relationship between life cycles and fin distance at various brazing seam thicknesses is shown in Figure 13. It is clear that when fin distance increase, life cycles will linearly decrease. Meanwhile, the brazing seam thickness also has an obvious impact on fatigue life. It is consistent with the conclusion in Figure 7. Although the fin distance has an obvious impact on life cycles, it will also have a small effect on that compared with Figures 9 and 11. The relationship between stresses and fin distance at various brazing seam thicknesses is shown in Figure 14. It can be seen that the structure stress will gradually increase with the fin distance, while the thermal stress will decrease firstly and then approximately remain constant with that. Through the contrast between structural and thermal stress, it can be found that the thermal stress will be slightly changed with the fin distance while the change of structural stress will be obvious with the fin distance. In other words, the decrease of life cycles with the fin distance will be mainly induced by the structural stresses.

thumbnail Figure 13

The life cycles vs. fin distance.

thumbnail Figure 14

The stresses vs. fin distance.

4.2.4 The fin thickness

The relationship between life cycles and fin thickness at various fin heights is shown in Figure 15. It is clear that the life cycles will gradually increase with the fin thickness, and is approximately a parabolic relationship with that. It can also be found that the life cycles also are largely impacted by fin height. The results will be similar to that from Figure 11. Meanwhile, the relationship between stresses and fin thickness at various fin heights will also be given in Figure 16. The findings demonstrate that as fin thickness increases, structural stress gradually decreases while thermal stress is only slightly impacted. In addition, the fin height also has a larger influence on structure stress. This will be consistent with the conclusion in Figure 12. Therefore, increasing the fin thickness will decrease the structural stress. This will further prolong the fatigue life of heat exchangers.

thumbnail Figure 15

The life cycles vs. fin thickness.

thumbnail Figure 16

The stresses vs. fin thickness.

4.3 Sensitivity analysis

The sensitivity between life cycles and structure parameters will be analyzed in more detail in order to further study how the structure parameters impact fatigue life. In this section, the structure parameters will be normalized according to the following equation:(12)

In equation (12), X is the raw data, Xnorm is the data after normalization, Xmin is the minimum value in raw data, and Xmax is the maximum value in raw data.

Figure 17 shows the relation between life cycles and the data after normalization for the structure parameters. The results show that the life cycles will linearly decrease with fin height and fin distance while nonlinearity decrease with brazing seam thickness. And it will also nonlinearity increase with fin thickness, and linearly increase with the plate thickness and side bar length. According to the datum from Figure 17, the life cycles will decrease by 76.18%, 22.80% and 51.96% with the fin height, fin distance and brazing seam thickness, respectively. It will increase by 49.63%, 7.37% and 8.78% with the fin thickness, plate thickness and side bar length, respectively. Obviously, the life cycles will be slightly impacted by plate thickness and side bar length. The main structural factors that influence fatigue life are the brazing seam thickness, fin height, fin distance and fin thickness.

thumbnail Figure 17

The relation between life cycles and the data after normalization.

4.4 Fatigue life prediction model

According to equations (1) and (10), we can find that the thermal stress and structural stress will determine the equivalent alternating stress, and they will further affect fatigue life. In addition, according to Section 4.2, the main structural parameters that will affect the structural stress are the brazing seam thickness, fin height, fin distance, and fin thickness. And the brazing seam thickness will also be the main structure parameter to affect the thermal stress. In order to more easily and conveniently obtain thermal stress and structural stress in practical engineering, and further predict the life cycles of brazing structures, the relationship between thermal stress and structural stress and structure parameters will be fitted based on considering the above influence factors according to the datum of Section 4.2. The fitting results of that are as follows, respectively:(13) (14)

Then, the relationship between the equivalent alternating stress and each effect factor can be obtained by combining equations (12) and (13) into (1), as follows:(15)

Finally, the fatigue life predict model will be established by combining equations (15) and (10), and it can be expressed by the following:(16)

Figure 18 is the error between the simulation result and the prediction result from equation (16). The result shows that the error will be almost within 10% for δ = 0.08 − 0.14 mm, f = 0.2 − 0.5 mm, h = 5.0 − 7.0 mm, g = 0.6 − 1.2 mm, PNG = 7.1 MPa, PMR = 0.4 MPa, TMR = 150 K and TNG = 155 K. Therefore, the prediction and simulation results will be approximately consistent, and this prediction model can be applied to actual engineering.

thumbnail Figure 18

The error between simulation result and prediction result.

4.5 Experiment test analysis

The fatigue life of brazing structures will be tested in order to further study the fatigue fracture mechanism of that by the fatigue test machine with the MTS Landmark 370.10 when the maximum cyclic load is 5.51 KN, maximum cyclic stress amplitude is 61.25 MPa, and loading frequency is about 40 Hz. According to the results in Figure 17, the life cycles will be slightly impacted by the side bar length. So the side bar length will be ignored in the test specimen of brazing structure, which will be shown in Figure 19. Figure 20 is the diagram of the fatigue test process. Meanwhile, the microstructure on the fatigue fracture surface will also be observed by the Scanned Electron Microscope (SEM) of Japan Hitachi SU8010.

thumbnail Figure 19

The test specimen of brazing structures.

thumbnail Figure 20

The diagram of the fatigue test process.

Figure 21 is the macroscopic morphology on the fatigue fracture surface. It can be seen that the fatigue fracture surface is uneven and very rough. The fatigue fracture will be mainly occurred along the brazing seam, and the fracture of some local areas will also be generated at the fin root. This may be mainly induced by the mismatch of material properties between the base metal and brazing seam. The stress concentration will be occurred along the brazing seam during the loading process, and the fatigue crack will be gradually generated at the brazed joint. Under the action of cyclic stress, the fatigue cracks will gradually expand along the brazing seam. This is consistent with the conclusion from Figures 7 and 8. Meanwhile, the life cycles from the experiment will also be compared with that from the finite element analysis based on Sections 2 and 3. The results are about 5728 and 5239 from the experiment and the finite element analysis, respectively. This will further verify that the finite element analysis is reliable in this paper.

thumbnail Figure 21

The macroscopic morphology on the fatigue fracture surface.

The local microstructures of brazing structures in points 1–5 in the red line from Figure 21 will be further analyzed in order to study the fatigue mechanism of that. Figure 22 is the microstructure at point 1. On the fracture surface, the typical river pattern cleavage fracture will be observed, and the orientation of the fracture is shown in the figure. The metal is polycrystalline and the orientation is disordered. The cleavage cracks will not be expanded along a single crystallographic plane while along many parallel cleavage planes in the crystal grains. In the forward expansion process of cleavage cracks on the different cleavage planes, cleavage cracks will be connected by secondary cleavage, screw dislocation intersection, and tearing or matrix-twin interface cracking. This will induce a crack pattern similar to the river, so it is called the river pattern. For the river pattern, the small rivers will tend to merge into large rivers in order to reduce the energy consumption of cleavage crack expansion. Therefore, the expansion direction of local fatigue cracks on the fracture surface can be shown in Figure 22.

thumbnail Figure 22

The microstructure at point 1.

Figure 23 is the microstructure at point 2. It can be seen that many flat areas can be observed on the fracture surface, these are called cleavage steps. This is mainly formed by secondary cleavage of cleavage cracks on the different cleavage planes. The cleavage step is a typical sign to prove the cleavage fracture. At the same time, some cleavage steps also can be observed in Figure 22. Many cleavage steps in Figures 22 and 23 indicate that brittle fracture is the main fracture mechanism along the brazing seam because that cleavage fracture is a typical characteristic of brittle fracture. In addition, Figure 24 is the microstructure at point 3. On the fracture surface, secondary cracks can be seen in Figure 24. This may be induced by the energy concentration at the crack front in the experiment, or the cracks encounter second phase in the expansion process.

thumbnail Figure 23

The microstructure at point 2.

thumbnail Figure 24

The microstructure at point 3.

Figure 25 is the microstructure at point 4. On the fracture surface, it is possible to notice a series of basic parallel striations, and they are typical mechanical fatigue striations. This is mainly caused by the slip between crystals in the loading process. The fatigue striation often will be thought a typical characteristic of fatigue under the electron microscope, and it is an important basis to prove the fatigue failure of the specimen. Generally, the direction of fatigue striation is vertical with the expansion direction of the local fatigue cracks, and it is convex outward along the expansion direction of that. Therefore, the expansion direction of local fatigue crack on the fracture surface is from A to B, as shown in Figure 25. In addition, Figure 26 is the microstructure at point 5. According to Figures 25 and 26, the findings demonstrate that there are some dimple morphology on the fracture surface because the internal crystals of specimens are subjected to tensile normal stress or shear stress in the loading process. This will further indicate that ductile fracture is the main fracture mechanism at the fin root.

thumbnail Figure 25

The microstructure at point 4.

thumbnail Figure 26

The microstructure at point 5.

5 Conclusion

A Finite Element Model (FEM) was built in this paper to obtain the alternating stress of brazing structures under cryogenic circumstances. Then, calculated maximum alternating stress amplitude and the ASME standard was combined to evaluate the fatigue life of brazing structures. The impact of structure parameters on life cycles was also further investigated. A prediction model was proposed to estimate the life cycles of brazing structures. Finally, the fatigue life of brazing structures was also tested, and the microstructure was analyzed on the fatigue fracture surface. The followings are main conclusions of this paper by above study:

  1. The maximum alternating stress amplitude may occur at the brazed joint, so the brazing joint will be the most likely position to occur the fatigue failure, and the life cycle is the shortest at this position and about 3311.

  2. There will have four main structural parameters to impact the life cycle of brazing structures, they are the fin height, the fin distance, the brazing seam, and the fin thickness, respectively. Life cycles will have a negative correlation with the fin distance, fin height, and brazing seam thickness, and a positive correlation with the fin thickness.

  3. A prediction model is proposed to evaluate the life cycles of brazing structures based on the simulation datum. The critical structure parameters will be considered to affect the fatigue life of brazing structures in this prediction model. The error between prediction and simulation results will be within 10%.

  4. The fatigue fracture of brazing structures will be mainly generated along the brazing seam and at the fin root of some local areas. The brittle fracture and ductile fracture will be the main fatigue fracture model along the brazing seam and at the fin root, respectively.

Acknowledgments

In this note, the author expresses his gratitude to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51808275), the Postdoctoral Science Foundation of China (2018M643768), and the Natural Science Foundation of Gansu Province (1606RJZA059) for providing funding support for the project.

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All Tables

Table 1

The structure characteristic parameter of brazing structures (along the y-direction).

Table 2

The physical properties of AL3003/AL4004.

Table 3

The peak and valley condition.

All Figures

thumbnail Figure 1

The diagram of brazing structures.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 2

The semi-symmetric model of brazing structures.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 3

The diagram of boundary condition.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 4

Local mesh.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 5

The relationship between stress and the total number of nodes.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 6

The variation of temperature and pressure.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 7

The distribution of equivalent alternating stress amplitude at the brazed joint of brazing structures.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 8

The distribution of maximum shear stress at the brazed joint of brazing structures.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 9

The life cycles vs. brazing seam thickness.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 10

The stresses vs. brazing seam thickness.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 11

The life cycles vs. fin height.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 12

The stresses vs. fin height.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 13

The life cycles vs. fin distance.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 14

The stresses vs. fin distance.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 15

The life cycles vs. fin thickness.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 16

The stresses vs. fin thickness.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 17

The relation between life cycles and the data after normalization.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 18

The error between simulation result and prediction result.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 19

The test specimen of brazing structures.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 20

The diagram of the fatigue test process.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 21

The macroscopic morphology on the fatigue fracture surface.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 22

The microstructure at point 1.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 23

The microstructure at point 2.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 24

The microstructure at point 3.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 25

The microstructure at point 4.

In the text
thumbnail Figure 26

The microstructure at point 5.

In the text

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