The relationship between cyclic deformation, slip-mode and dislocation structures is investigated in 316LN stainless steel (with 0.07–0.22 wt% Nitrogen) subjected to low cycle fatigue at temperatures in the range 300–873 K and at a 0.6 % strain amplitude. Irrespective of the nitrogen content, cyclic softening/saturation occupied a large fraction of fatigue life at temperatures <773 K. The end-of-life dislocation structures (e.g. dislocation cells, planar slip-bands) characterizing the cyclic softening/saturation belong to wavy/mixed/planar slip-modes of deformation. On the other hand at temperatures ≥773 K, similar dislocation structures are noticed to be associated with significant cyclic strengthening with limited softening. The differences in the above deformation behavior is found to be controlled not by the nature of slip-mode but by the consequences of dynamic strain aging occurrence (e.g. significant cyclic strengthening and pronounced serrations) which are noticed to vary in the temperature range 573–873 K. Maximum fatigue life is observed at 0.11–0.14 wt% N that induced mixed mode of deformation. © 2015, The Indian Institute of Metals - IIM.
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