The aim of the current study is the application of local micromechanical models to predict crack initiation in ductile materials. Two reactor pressure vessel materials have been selected for this study: JRQ IAEA monitor base metal (A533B C1.1) and Doel-IV weld material. Charpy impact tests have been performed in both un-irradiated and irradiated conditions. In addition to standard tensile tests, notched tensile specimens have been tested.
The upper shelf energy of the weld material remains almost un-affected by irradiation, whereas a decrease of 20% is detected for the base metal. Accordingly, the tensile properties of the weld material do not reveal a clear irradiation effect on the yield and ultimate stresses, this in contrast to the base material flow properties. The tensile tests have been analyzed in terms of micromechanical models. A good correlation is found between the standard tests and the micromechanical models, that are able to predict the ductile damage evolution in these materials. Additional information on the ductility behaviour of these materials is revealed by this micromechanical analysis.