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    Verification of Tearing Modulus Methodology for Application to Reactor Pressure Vessels with Low Upper-Shelf Fracture Toughness

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    A significant number of operating reactor pressure vessels in the United States are anticipated to undergo, during their design lifetime, reductions in upper-shelf fracture toughness below the minimum values currently prescribed in the Code of Federal Regulations. This reduction occurs in the beltline region of the vessels adjacent to the reactor core due to neutron irradiation effects. A methodology has been developed by Paris to apply tearing modulus methodology to quantitatively establish the minimum upper-shelf toughness levels required to maintain an acceptable margin of safety in such vessels.

    The proposed analytical techniques and data base are compared with test data and alternative analytical results in order to verify the validity of the methodology. The method is used to predict failure conditions in a series of large pressure vessels and tension bar experiments containing large crack-like defects. The analytical method is also compared with a three-dimensional nonlinear finite-element analysis of a typical pressurized water reactor vessel containing a beltline defect. The method is shown to accurately predict the test failure conditions and to agree well with the finite-element analysis results.


    tearing modulus, elastic-plastic fracture, J-integral, flaw, vessel, fracture toughness

    Author Information:

    Tang, SS
    Senior engineer and senior director, NUTECH, San Jose, Calif.

    Riccardella, PC
    Senior engineer and senior director, NUTECH, San Jose, Calif.

    Huet, R
    Metallurgical engineer, Failure Analysis Associate, Palo Alto, Calif.

    Committee/Subcommittee: E08.08

    DOI: 10.1520/STP36766S