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This paper presents an overview of the effect of light-water reactor environments on the fatigue crack growth rate in reactor pressure vessel steels. The effect of different variables known to influence the environmental assistance—stress intensity range, load ratio, frequency, temperature, water chemistry, and irradiation—is described. The fractographic phenomena and mechanisms of fatigue crack propagation associated with environmental influence is emphasized. An analytical approach for predicting the crack growth rates based on the hydrogen embrittlement model is described. Finally, a discussion of the effect of different transients occurring in the nuclear reactors on the crack growth rate predictions is presented.
fatigue (materials), corrosion fatigue, crack propagation, hydrogen embrittlement, pressure vessel steels
Technical Research Centre of Finland, Metals Laboratory, Espoo,
Materials Engineering Associates, Inc., Lanham, Md.