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A new plastic correction for the stress intensity factor of an under-clad defect in a PWR vessel subjected to a pressurised thermal shock

Abstract : For the assessment of an under-clad defect in a vessel submitted to a cold pressurized thermal shock, plasticity is considered through the amplification b of the elastic stress intensity factor KI in the ferritic part of the vessel. An important effort has been made recently by CEA to improve the analytical tools in the frame of RetD activities funded by IRSN. The current solution in the French RSE-M code has been developed from fitting F.E. calculation results. A more physical solution is proposed in this paper. This takes into account two phenomena the amplification of the elastic KI due to the plasticity in the cladding and a plastic zone size correction in the ferritic part. The first correction has been established by representing the cladding plasticity by an imposed displacement on the crack lips at the interface between the cladding and the ferritic vessel. The corresponding elastic stress intensity factor is determined from the elastic plane strain asymptotic solution for the opening displacement. Plasticity in the ferritic steel is considered through a classical plastic zone size correction.The application of the solution to axisymmetric defects is first checked. The case of semi-elliptical defects is also investigated. For the correction determined at the interface between the cladding and the ferritic vessel, an amplification of the correction proposed for the deepest point is determined from a fitting of the 3D F.E. calculation results. It is also shown that the proposition of RSE-M which consists in applying the same b correction at the deepest point and the interface point is not suitable.The applicability to a thermal shock, eventually combined with an internal pressure has been verified. For the deepest point, the proposed correction leads to similar results to the RSE-M method, but presents an extended domain of validity (no limit on the crack length are imposed).
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S. Marie, M. Nédelec. A new plastic correction for the stress intensity factor of an under-clad defect in a PWR vessel subjected to a pressurised thermal shock. International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping, Elsevier, 2007, 84 (3), pp.159-170. ⟨10.1016/j.ijpvp.2006.09.019⟩. ⟨cea-02355784⟩

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