Crack-arrest testing of nuclear pressure vessel steels has been conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for many years. Four methods have been used to initiate fast-running cracks in crackarrest specimens: (1) the deposition of a brittle weld bead using hardfacing weld electrodes, (2) water quenching a chevron crack tip, (3) quenching the crack tip by discharging a large current into the crack tip region, and (4) the use of duplex specimens. A problem often encountered with Methods 1 and 4 is the control of the width of the heat-affected zone (HAZ). The HAZ is generally tough and can arrest crack propagation before it has run into the test section. Irradiated crack-arrest specimens were prepared using Methods 1, 3, and 4. Method 1 was the most successful, while Method 4 was the least successful. This paper will discuss some of the reasons for the success, or lack of, as well as the results of testing both a high-copper weldment and a low-copper forging in terms of the shift and shape of the Ka toughness curve compared to the Charpy V-notch shift. The present ASTM Test Method for Determining Plane-Strain Crack-Arrest Fracture Toughness, KIa, of Ferritic Steels (E 1221-88) validity criteria will also be discussed in light of the results.
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