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Constraint Based Assessment of Postulated Nozzle Corner Cracks

[+] Author Affiliations
Dieter Siegele, Igor Varfolomeyev

Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoffmechanik, Freiburg, Germany

Gerhard Nagel

E.ON Kernkraft, Hannover, Germany

Paper No. PVP2002-1352, pp. 73-77; 5 pages
  • ASME 2002 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Fatigue, Fracture and Damage Analysis, Volume 2
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada, August 5–9, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4654-7
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


Brittle failure for reactor pressure vessels (RPV) under loss of coolant accidents (LOCA) considering strip and plume cooling show the nozzle corner as leading region in load level (e.g. Siegele et al., 1999). For such transients postulated nozzle corner cracks are also leading in crack driving force compared to the fracture toughness of the material. On the other hand, the crack tip constraint and consequently the failure probability is reduced by yielding caused by high thermal stresses and in addition by the crack size being small relative to the bulk of the flange material. Under these conditions, the flaw assessment in the nozzle corner using fracture toughness data obtained on standard specimens with high constraint level is over-conservative. In this situation it is suitable to introduce the loss of crack tip constraint into the brittle failure analysis of the nozzle corner. This investigation focuses on the assessment of surface cracks in the nozzle corner of an RPV. Using the finite element method temperature and stress calculations are carried out for a postulated LOCA event. For crack postulates in the nozzle corner of various size and geometry in the nozzle corner, crack driving parameters (such as the J-integral and the stress intensity factor) are determined as functions of the crack tip temperature. To account for the crack tip constraint, the T-stress is then evaluated and used along with the master curve approach as suggested by Wallin (2001). Significant loss of constraint is found for the nozzle corner resulting in a large shift of the fracture toughness curve to lower temperatures, thus excluding initiation of the crack postulates.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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