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Modeling Crack Growth in Weld Residual Stress Fields Using the Finite Element Alternating Method

[+] Author Affiliations
F. W. Brust, T. Zhang, D.-J. Shim, G. Wilkowski

Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus, Columbus, OH

D. Rudland

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC

Paper No. PVP2011-57935, pp. 1643-1649; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 6: Materials and Fabrication, Parts A and B
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA, July 17–21, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4456-4
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Flaw indications have been found in some nozzle to stainless steel piping dissimilar metal (DM) welds and reactor pressure vessel heads (RPVH) in pressurized water reactors (PWR) throughout the world. The nozzle welds usually involve welding ferritic (often A508) nozzles to 304/316 stainless steel pipe) using Alloy 182/82 weld metal. The welds may become susceptible to a form of corrosion cracking referred to as primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC). It can occur if the temperature is high enough (usually >300C) and the water chemistry in the PWR is typical of operating plants. The weld residual stresses (WRS) induced by the welds are a main driver of PWSCC. Modeling the growth of these cracks in these WRS fields until leakage occurs is important for safety assessments. Currently, the prediction of PWSCC crack growth is based on the stress intensity factors at the crack tips. Several methods for modeling the crack growth through these WRS fields are possible, including using analytical, natural crack growth using finite element methods, and using the finite element alternating method. In this paper, finite element alternating method (FEAM) is used for calculating stress intensity factors and modeling the growth. First the FEAM method for growing cracks is presented. Next, several examples of modeling growth through control rod drive mechanism (CRDM) heads are presented. Finally, a short example examining multiple cracks in CRDM heads is presented. For many problems the FEAM approach for rapidly modeling crack growth is quite convenient, especially for difficult to mesh crack geometries.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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