The quality and reliability of impact forces obtained from instrumented Charpy tests has been devoted considerable attention at SCK⋅CEN since the 1990’s, in parallel to the development and qualification of advanced methodologies for the surveillance of nuclear reactor pressure vessels (Enhanced Surveillance Strategy). In this framework, careful analysis of the instrumented force/deflection traces from Charpy tests allows the defining of important parameters which can help investigate material characteristics such as flow properties, microcleavage fracture stress, crack arrest behavior and alternative characteristic (index) temperatures. While first efforts at SCK⋅CEN were concentrated on the optimization of the striker calibration procedure, more recently the focus has been put on the in-house development and optimization of reliable instrumented strikers with both 2 mm radius (ISO 148) and 8 mm radius (ASTM E23). Evidence was found that the position of the strain gages affects the static and dynamic performance of the newly developed strikers. Additional investigations in this direction have shown that the linearity of the strikers during static calibration improves as the gages are placed further away from the striking edge. For the ASTM design, moving the strain gages away also reduces the characteristic “tail” that is typically observed just before a ductile specimen is ejected from the anvils. Our research shows that the best striker performance is achieved when the center of the T-rosette is located at about 16 mm from the striking edge, using a top/bottom configuration.
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