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    Development of a Plastic Fracture Methodology for Nuclear Systems

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    This paper describes research conducted to develop a fundamental basis for flaw tolerance assessment procedures suitable for components exhibiting ductile behavior. The research was composed of an integrated combination of stable crack growth experiments and elastic-plastic analyses. A number of candidate fracture criteria were assembled and investigated to determine the proper basis for plastic fracture mechanics assessments. The results demonstrate that many different fracture criteria can be used as the basis of a resistance curve approach to predicting stable crack growth and fracture instability. While all have some disadvantages, none is completely unacceptable. On balance, the best criteria were found to be the J-integral for initiation and limited amounts of stable crack growth and the local crack-tip opening angle for extended amounts of stable growth. A combination of the two, which may preserve the advantages of each while reducing their disadvantages, also was suggested by these results. The influence of biaxial and mixed flat/shear fracture behavior was investigated and found to not alter the basic results. Further work in the development of simplified ductile fracture analyses for routine engineering assessments of nuclear pressure vessels and piping evolving from this research is also described.


    fracture, crack propagation, J-integral, elastic-plastic fracture methodology, crack-tip opening angle, crack opening displacement, 2219-T87 aluminum, AS33B steel, elastic-plastic fracture

    Author Information:

    Marston, TU
    Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, Calif.

    Jones, RL
    Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, Calif.

    Kanninen, MF
    Battelle, Columbus, Ohio

    Mowbray, DF
    General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.

    Committee/Subcommittee: E08.08

    DOI: 10.1520/STP36764S