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Leak-Before-Break Assessment of a Cracked Reactor Vessel Nozzle Using 3D Crack Meshes

[+] Author Affiliations
Greg Thorwald, Lucie Parietti

Quest Integrity Group, Boulder, CO

Paper No. PVP2016-63910, pp. V06AT06A079; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/PVP2016-63910
From:
  • ASME 2016 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 6A: Materials and Fabrication
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 17–21, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5042-8
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME

abstract

A postulated surface crack near a reactor pressure vessel nozzle is evaluated using finite element analysis (FEA) to compute the fatigue crack growth rate, evaluate crack stability, and examine the possibility of a leak-before-break (LBB) condition. For a pressurized vessel with cyclic loading, determining if the crack may have a LBB condition is desirable to allow for the possibility of leak detection leading to corrective action before catastrophic failure.

A fatigue crack growth analysis is used to determine how the surface crack dimensions develop before re-categorizing the surface crack as a through thickness crack and evaluating its stability for LBB. To evaluate if a particular crack is unstable and may cause a structural failure, the Failure Assessment Diagram (FAD) method provides an evaluation using two ratios: brittle fracture and plastic collapse. The FAD method is described in the engineering best practice standard API 579-1/ASME FFS-1. The FAD curve and assessment ratios can be obtained from crack front J-integral values, which are computed using 3D crack meshes and elastic and elastic-plastic FEA. Computing custom crack solutions is beneficial when structural component geometries do not have an available stress intensity or reference stress solution.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME

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