As nuclear power plants approach end-of-license (EOL) and consideration is given to license renewal, there is an ever increasing need to expand the amount of data obtainable from the original surveillance specimens. A laser welding technique to reconstitute broken Charpy specimens is being developed to produce both conventional and miniaturized Charpy specimens. This paper reports on early laser welding development efforts and summarizes previous proof-of-principle experiments on a 1/16 scale miniaturized Charpy test. In order to benchmark the laser welding procedure, the laser-reconstituted specimen data have been compared with the original specimen data. In addition, the microstructure after welding has been examined to ensure that the material in the vicinity of the notch is essentially unchanged after the welding process. Data which characterize the thermal transient during welding are obtained by attaching thermocouples to the specimens. Other important considerations include perturbation of the stress field near the notch, dynamic stress waves, and contact of the weld region with the tup.
Precise control of welding parameters has been demonstrated, heat-affected zones as small as 0.25 mm can be achieved, and sufficient penetration depth can be obtained to enable welding thick sections (1T or greater) to yield conventional Charpy specimens or fracture toughness specimens and thin sections (̃5 mm) to yield Miniaturized Notch test (MNT) specimens.