Effect of Irradiation on Elastic-Plastic Toughness of Pressure Vessel Steels

    Published: Jan 1983

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    Irradiation experiments were conducted in order to determine the effect of radiation damage on the elastic-plastic ductile fracture toughness of pressure vessel steels. Curves for the J-integral versus crack growth resistance (Δa) were established on specimens taken out of two nuclear reactor pressure vessel steels before and after neutron irradiation at 290°C to a fluence of 3.1019 n/cm2 (work function energy E > 1 MeV). The Ja tests were performed at room temperature (25°C) and service temperature (290°C). The main results obtained are as follows:

    • For Ja testing the tearing modulus appears to be the most sensitive parameter.

    • The two steels have significant differences in toughness, depending on their sulfur content.

    • The testing temperature strongly affects the Ja resistance curve.

    • Irradiation affects Ja curves only slightly for one steel but more significantly for the other at 290°C.

    • Changes in the Ja curves with irradiation and temperature seem difficult to predict from Charpy V results.


    pressure vessel steels, irradiation embrittlement, elastic-plastic fracture mechanics

    Author Information:

    Soulat, P
    Saclay Nuclear Research Center, Atomic Energy Commission, Gif-sur-Yvette,

    Petrequin, P
    Saclay Nuclear Research Center, Atomic Energy Commission, Gif-sur-Yvette,

    Houssin, B
    Framatome, Paris la Defense,

    Committee/Subcommittee: E10.07

    DOI: 10.1520/STP31848S

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