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The Role of Displacement-Controlled Stresses in Critical Flaw Size Determination for Piping Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Peter C. Riccardella

Structural Integrity Associates, Inc., Centennial, CO

Paul Hirschberg

Structural Integrity Associates, Inc., San Jose, CA

Ted Anderson, Greg Thorwald, Eric Scheibler

Quest Reliability LLC, Boulder, CO

Paper No. PVP2008-61074, pp. 1087-1092; 6 pages
  • ASME 2008 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 6: Materials and Fabrication, Parts A and B
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, July 27–31, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4829-6
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


A debate has long ensued in ASME Subcommittee XI regarding the need to include displacement-controlled (secondary) stresses in critical flaw size calculations for austenitic weldments. There is general agreement that inclusion of secondary stresses is not necessary for highly ductile piping materials such as wrought stainless steel and high nickel alloys. However, some stainless steel weldments are classified as “low-toughness” because, although not considered brittle, they exhibit lower toughness than wrought stainless steel. The Code requires the inclusion of global secondary stresses, such as piping thermal expansion loads, in critical flaw size calculations for such weldments, albeit at reduced safety factors. The Code requirements are less clear for dissimilar metal weldments, such as Alloy 82/182, which were often used for ferritic nozzle to safe-end welds in nuclear power plants, and which have proven in service to be susceptible to a form of stress corrosion cracking. Analyses are presented in this paper that shed additional light on the subject. Finite element analyses (FEA) of a straight pipe with a through-thickness crack were used to determine the effect on bending moment and crack driving force due to an imposed end rotation. Moment and J-integral knock-down factors are computed for a range of crack sizes for two different pipe lengths. Piping analyses are also presented for two typical PWR surge lines, which are among the highest secondary stress locations in U.S. nuclear plants. These analyses predict the maximum rotation at the surge nozzle that could be produced by the secondary loads (anchor movement + thermal expansion + stratification), and compare that to rotations that were sustained in full scale pipe tests containing large complex cracks. The analyses demonstrate that secondary loads would be substantially reduced prior to fracture of a cracked weldment, and that they are therefore of reduced significance in critical flaw size calculations. A general method for estimating the effect of secondary loads on pipe fracture as a function of relative piping system and crack section stiffness is suggested.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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