The use of coupled pressure bars (CPB) to induce dynamic fracture in tough materials using small specimens is investigated. CPB experiments were performed with a nuclear pressure vessel steel, A533 Grade B Class 1, over the temperature range 37 to 100°C. The dynamic fracture initiation toughness at a stress intensity loading rate, KI, of 2 × 106 MPa∙m½ s−1 was deduced from the simulation of the fracture experiment with a dynamic viscoplastic finite-element fracture code. At 100°C, no cleavage fracture was observed for either dynamic crack initiation or subsequent propagation and arrest. A procedure to measure initiation, propagation, and arrest toughnesses of nuclear pressure vessel steels up to service temperature with CPB specimens is introduced.
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