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Analyzing Ductile Flaw Stability in Nuclear Pressure

Vessels

J. G. Merkle

Oak Ridge National Laboratory,

Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830, USA

&

R. E. Johnson

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission,

Washington, DC 20555, USA

(Received: 17 January, 1984)

ABSTRACT

This paper contains example calculations of ductile flaw instability

stresses for hypothetical .)Claws in nuclear pressure vessels. For

comparison, three different methods of estimating upper shelf toughness

as a function of Charpy impact energy were used, namely a power law

R-curve correlation, the Rolfe-Novak correlation, and the Paris Jso

correlation. All three methods were used in L E F M calculations including a

plastic zone size correction, and gave similar results, with the Paris Jso

method being the most conservative at low Charpy upper shelf energy

levels. Safety factors based on the tearing modulus ratio Tm,t/Tappl can

exceed those based on load by considerable amounts and use of them at

this time is not recommended. The use of resistance curve data obtained

.from actual vessel material test specimens is recommended over the use of

correlations. Furthermore, evaluation of a recently proposed modified

crack extension adjustment procedure for R-curve data, which is not overconservative, is recommended.

35

Int. J. Pres. Ves. & Piping 0308-0161/85/$03.30 Elsevier Applied Science Publishers

Ltd, England, 1985. Printed in Great Britain

36

J. G. Merkle, R. E. Johnson

NOMENCLATURE

Crack depth (in).

Initial crack depth (in).

ao

Crack depth at fracture (in).

of

B

Specimen thickness (in).

Half the surface length of a part-through surface crack (in).

b

CVN Charpy V-notch impact energy (ft lb).

Coefficient in the power law representation of the J-integral

c

resistance curve (dimensionless).

E

Modulus of elasticity (psi).

The J-integral (in lb/in2).

J

Value of the J-integral for which J/T= 50 in lb/in 2 (in lb/in2).

Js0

Value of the J-integral at fracture (in lb/in2).

Jc

Value of the J-integral to which Ernst's modified Aa correction has

Ju

been applied (in lb/in2).

Linear elastic stress intensity factor ((ksi) in1' 2).

K

Fracture toughness ((ksi) inl~Z).

K~

Plane strain mode I elastic stress intensity factor ((ksi)in1 2).

KI

Exponent in the power law representation of the J-integral

m

resistance curve (dimensionless).

Design pressure (ksi).

Pd

Inside radius (in).

Ri

Plastic zone radius (in).

I~y

Tearing modulus (dimensionless).

T

Tappl Applied value of the tearing modulus (dimensionless).

Value of the tearing modulus calculated after applying Ernst's

Tv

modified Aa correction to the values of J (dimensionless).

Tearing modulus of a material (dimensionless).

T

Pressure vessel wall thickness (in).

t

Specimen width (in).

W

Correlating parameter for estimating the factors in a power law

X

representation of a J-integral resistance curve (dimensionless).

Geometric shape factor (dimensionless).

Y

Normalized J-integral (dimensionless).

/3

Constraint factor (dimensionless).

Stable crack growth (in).

Aa

Stress (ksi).

(T

Flow stress (ksi).

~70

a

mal

o'f

O'ys

37

Tensile yield stress (ksi).

Normalized multiplying factor in the power law representation of

a J-integral resistance curve (dimensionless).

INTRODUCTION

This paper contains example calculations of ductile flaw instability

stresses for hypothetical flaws in nuclear pressure vessels. These

calculations were originally prepared for the ASME Section XI Working

Group on Flaw Evaluation, which is part of the American Society of

Mechanical Engineers' Boiler and Pressure Vessel Committee. The

purpose of the calculations was to illustrate the results of applying the

elastic-plastic fracture mechanics analysis procedures described in the

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission 'For Comment' report

NUREG-0744, 'Resolution of the reactor vessel materials toughness

safety issue', ~ to conditions that might be encountered in the evaluations

of flaws in nuclear pressure vessels. For comparison, three different

methods for estimating upper shelf toughness as a function of Charpy

impact energy were used. The 'For Comment' version of Ref. 1 was used

as the basis for the task. The calculations were done to illustrate the

approach described on page 6-1, Ref. 1, reprinted, using italic for

emphasis, as Appendix A herein. After having been edited to

accommodate the comments that were received, Chapter 6 of NUREG0744, Revision 1, no longer includes the approach suggested in the earlier

version (i.e. Appendix A).

Much of the following description of analytical procedures can be

found in NUREG-0744, Appendix C, Section 3, 'Methods for vessel flaw

analysis'. Values of specific input parameters used in the calculations are

listed in Table 1. The parameter/~ listed in Table 1 is most familiar as part

of the Irwin crack tip plastic zone radius formula

ry ----~

(K/ao) 2

(1)

where ry = crack tip plastic zone radius, fl = 2 for plane stress and 6 for

plane strain, and K = stress intensity factor (which is assumed to be K~

when fl = 6).

38

J. G. Merkle, R. E. Johnson

TABLE 1

Parameter Values Used for Calculations

Vessel wall thickness

Initial crack depth

Flaw shape ratio

Stress state parameter

Geometry correction factor

Flow stress

Tensile elastic modulus

t=8in

a o = t/4 = 2 in

a / 2 b = 1/6

/~=6

Y=I

ao = 90 ksi

E = 3 0 106 psi

In eqn (1), for consistency with eqn [26]* of Appendix B in Ref. 1, the

expression for ry w a s written in terms of the flow stress, tro, instead of the

tensile yield stress, tryS.

The factor Y in Table 1 was described in NUREG-0744, Appendix B

(page B-12ff.) and Appendix C (page C-14ff.). Note, on page C-17 of

Ref. 1, that the value Y= 1 was used for the surface crack problem

addressed therein.

The flow stress, tr0, is generally taken as half-way between the tensile

yield and ultimate strengths. Here, the value of 90 ksi was chosen as a

representative value for irradiated reactor pressure vessel steels.

Also, values of Charpy V-notch impact energy, CVN, were selected as

required.

To be determined were values at fracture of failure stress, af; J-integral,

J; and crack extension, Aa.

UPPER SHELF FRACTURE ANALYSIS PROCEDURES

Failure stresses were determined on the basis of LEFM, with a plastic

zone size correction, using three different correlations between Charpy

upper shelf impact energy and fracture toughness. First, a power-law fit to

the R-curve, as described in NUREG-0744, Appendices C and D, was

used to relate fracture mechanics and impact test parameters. Second, the

correlation established by Rolfe and Novak 2 between toughness and

Charpy energy was used. Third, the correlation between the J-integral

corresponding to the ratio J/T = 50 in lb/in 2 and the Charpy upper shelf

impact energy was used as described in NUREG-0744, Appendices B, D

* The equation numbers given in square brackets in this report are the same as those in

NUREG-0744, ~For comment' (Ref. 1), Appendix C.

39

3000

IRRADIATED

O UNIRRADIATED

A533WELD V84--~o

/

o o I

I

I

ooo

A A533WELDC88

ff

I

C_

1000

A533WELDE 1 9 ~ ~ /

A302B~A533

Fig. I.

WELDV86

~ ~====~A302B

20

40

60

80

100

120

Cv (ft-lb)

An attempted correlation of Jso values with Charpy upper shelf values (from

Ref. 1).

and H. The specific correlation for the third case is illustrated in Fig. 1 of

this report, which is reprinted from NUREG-0744, 'For Comment',

Appendix B.

Power law R-curve correlation

representation for the R-curve was given as

[Aa\"

J = 1000C[l~0

] \ /

[14] (2)

40

J. G. M e r k l e ,

R. E. J o h n s o n

c=-0.114

CVNX]

CVN

-1 o/

[15] (3)

[16]

(4)

[171

(5)

D1 z

0.473x 3

. . . .

14.42 + .v3

From the derivation given on page C-10 of Ref. 1, it was shown that, at

instability,

Aa=~l

m)ao

[24]

(6)

[23]

(7)

Aa=maf

From eqn [29] on page C-13 of Ref. 1 and the relationship

K e = EJ

(8)

it follows that for loads below gross section yield levels, the applied value

of the stress intensity factor is given by

"

Yax/" ~a

K ...................

1__ Y2

(9)

v-

EJ

,

o-;

[42] (11)

and

41

= ( 1000c)/(a2/E)

[44] (12)

y = q~(Aa)m

[43] (13)

Also, by operating on eqn (13), eqn (10) can be written as

T = dy/da

= m0(Aa)"- 1

[46] (14)

T - mO(Aa)"

Aa

(15)

and substituting in accordance with eqns (7) and (13), the material value

of the tearing modulus at instability is given by

T-

my _ y

maf

[42] (16)

af

Squaring both sides of eqn (9), then using eqn (8) and dividing both sides

by a~ gives

y 2 ( ff )2Tca

EJ _

\go/

Y2 ( ' ) 2

(17)

Neglecting the variation of Y with a, applying eqn (10) to eqn (17) gives

EJ

T - aoZa

(18)

K2

T = a2 a

(19)

T-

\ao/

fl \ g o /

(20)

TABLE 2

Results of Example Calculations

CV N

(13 Ih)

Aa

(in)

,I;

(in Ih,in 2 )

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

0.450 2

0.6194

0.815 5

1038 6

12885

1.5654

1.869 1

2.1998

2.557 4

2.941 9

0" 136 2

0.1638

O- 195 5

0-229 8

0.2650

02990

03302

0.3577

0380 9

0400

0.315 5

0391 7

0.485 9

0.596 8

0721 0

0853 I

0.9862

1.1138

1.230 6

1.333 5

385

531

708

922

I 182

1 493

I 861

2286

2 768

3 301

CVN

(0 Ih)

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

0.6154

0.822 7

1-055 1

1.3156

1.608 2

19378

2.307 6

2.7194

3.173 1

3.6674

(T I

Kc

(ksi)

(ksi #112)

39.2

45 I

50'8

56.3

61 8

67.3

72.8

78.3

837

89-0

107

126

146

166

188

212

236

262

288

315

CVN

(fi lh)

Kc

(ksi in j:2)

cx~

(ksi)

30

35

40

45

50

1.416 7

1.6944

1-972 2

2.2500

2.527 8

107

117

126

135

143

420

45.7

49.2

!52-3

155.3 [

55

2.8056

151

i580i

60

65

70

75

3083 3

3-361 1

3.638 9

3.9167

158

165

172

178

60.6

63.

i 65-4

67.6

43

TABLE 2--Contd.

(c) Paris Jso

CVN

(.It Ih)

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

Jso

(in Ih/in 2)

K,

)'

(ksi in t/2)

320

380

440

520

620

710

820

960

1060

1180

O'f

(ksi)

98

107

I 15

125

36

46

57

70

78

88

1.1852

1'4074

I "629 6

1-925 9

2.296 3

2.629 6

3.037 0

3" 555 6

3.925 9

4.3704

38.5

41-8

44.9

48"6

52-8

56"3

60"2

64-7

B67.7

71.1

1

At instability, using the values of Y and/3 given in Table 1, eqn (21) gives

0.0

0.r - / ~ n

(22)

1

eqn (3). Substituting the resulting value ofc and the given value of the flow

stress (a o = 9 0 k s i ) into eqn (4) produces the value of x, which when

substituted into eqn (5) produces the value of the exponent m. Given the

inital crack length, a o = 2 in, and the calculated value of m, Aa can be

calculated using eqn (6). For conditions at flaw instability, the calculated

values of c, Aa and m, inserted into eqn (2) will yield the value of Jc.

Remembering that af = a o + Aa, and that we were given 0.~/E= 270 psi, T

at instability can be calculated from eqns (11) and (16). The fracture

stress, of, then can be determined from eqn (22). Finally, from the

relationship K = x / - E ~ , the critical stress intensity factor can be

determined.

J. G. Merkle.

44

R. E. Johnson

parameters (c, m, Au, J,, T, of and K,) were

calculated for assumed CVN values ranging from 30 to 75 ft lb and the

results listed in Part (a) of Table 2.

Rolfe-Novak

The correlation

correlation

developed

can be written as

(23)

direct result of eqn (23)

Kc = o,&

as a

(24)

under which the RolfeeNovak

correlation

is

applicable, crack extension is neglected. Thus, at instability, combining

eqns (9) and (24) gives

(25)

01.=

(10

--r---

nuo

-+;

(26)

For specified values of CVN and oO, the parameter _r can be calculated

from eqn (23). From eqn (24) K, can be determined and the fracture stress

can be calculated using eqn (26). The results of determining values for the

three parameters are listed in Part (b) of Table 2.

Paris J,, correlation

Given any CVN value for the upper shelf of a Charpy impact energy

curve, the correlation shown in Fig. 1 (preferably the lower bound curve,

for conservatism)

can be used to determine the value of the J-integral

corresponding

to the ratio J/T =50in lb/in. Again using the elastic

45

K c=x/EJso

(27)

Rewriting eqn (17) in compliance with the notation for this section,

J5o

The equation for the fracture stress, ~f, neglecting crack extension, is

still eqn (26).

From Fig. 1 and eqns (26)-(28), values of Jso, Kc, 3' and af can be

determined. The results of these calculations are listed in Part (c) of

Table 2.

Application of results to nuclear vessels

Consider a pressure vessel with a design pressure

Pd = 2500 psi

(29)

Applying a safety factor of 2 to the design pressure, for consistency with

ASME code provisions, 3 and neglecting any contributions from thermal

transients and other secondary or residual stresses, we calculate

2pd --=Ri 50 ksi

(30)

50ksi have been highlighted by boxing them in Table 2. Because the

associated values of CVN are on the order of 40 to 50 ftlb it can be

concluded that the 50 ft lb minimum requirement presently used by the

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) does provide an adequate safety

margin against ductile flaw instability under design pressure loading. The

results presented in Table 2 also illustrate that the three methods for

ductile flaw instability analysis examined in this work produce

numerically similar values. Furthermore, these results show that the

elastic-plastic method described in NUREG-0744 can be applied to the

analysis of a pressure vessel in a relatively easy, straightforward manner.

46

J. G. Merkle, R. E. Johnson

DISCUSSION

Safety factors

Consider the safety factors suggested in Chapter 6 of N U R E G - 0 7 4 4 , 'For

Comment'* (see Appendix A). It was recommended that

Treat > 2

(31)

7~appl --

Jso _ 50

Tm~t

or

Tm, t = J50/50

(32)

Note that the equation for T~ppl given on page B-20, Appendix B,

N U R E G - 0 7 4 4 , ~For Comment', should be corrected by deleting the

factor (a2a/E); otherwise it is a reasonable estimate of the plastic-zone

size corrected tearing modulus. Thus

V:ro/

T.,pl -

_l ( ~ 2

1 -

(33)

6 \O'o)

Consider a steel vessel for which the upper shelf Charpy V-notch

impact energy is 50 ft lb, which is the limit of acceptability according to

the N R C regulations. For that case, Fig. 1 was used to determine

J 5 o = 620 in lb/in 2

Then

J5o _ 12'4

Tm"t- 50

Using the 'Paris Jso' result given in Table 2 for C V N = 50 ft lb, we note

that

af = 528 ksi

* In response to several reviewers' comments, Chapter 6 of NUREG-0744 was rewritten

extensively and the safety margins in the Rev. I version are very different from the original

recommendations.

47

energy level). Assuming an allowable accident-level pressure limit of twice

the design pressure, let

p = 2Pd = 2(2500) = 5000 psi

Then

a = 50 ksi

That results in

/50x~ 2

1 6\90)

Therefore

Tm. , __ 12"4

rappl

1"02

12"2

suggested in N U R E G - 0 7 4 4 , 'For Comment'. But at the same time

af _ 52"8

- 1 "056

a

50

or, from the other viewpoint

O"

-- = 95 o/

/ O

o'f

fracture appears to exist in terms of the tearing modulus, the applied

stress may be quite close to the calculated failure stress.

By way of another example, assume an internal pressure of 3000 psi. In

fact, pressures much in excess of 3000psi are unlikely at high

temperatures for a number of reasons, so the 3000psi value would be

useful in analyzing a vessel with radius 10 times the wall thickness. Using

the same equation as before,

(30V

Tappi-

n\90]'~/

=0'356

_1(3oV

1

6 \90)

48

J. G. Merkle. R. E. Johnson

and

Tma, _ 12.4 _ 34.8

0"356

Tappl

Comment'. At the same time, however, a f / a = 5 2 . 8 / 3 0 = 1.76, or

a/af = 0"568. The conclusion drawn from this example is that there is a

very large apparent safety margin in terms of the tearing modulus, but an

actual safety margin still slightly less than 2 in terms of pressure, for a

reasonable value of accident condition stress, with a conservative

assumption of a pre-existing crack one-fourth of the way through the

vessel wall in the most severe orientation (normal to the maximum

principal stress). Thus, the use of safety margins expressed in terms of the

tearing modulus ratio may be premature until such time as more extensive

correlations have been established with the corresponding load

ratios.

R-curve data

resistance curve of the material. In determining this curve from small

specimen test data, it is necessary to make mathematical adjustments for

the a m o u n t of crack extension taking place during the test, and for the

inelastic rotation of the specimen arms (see attachments I and 2 to

Appendix C of Ref. 1). These adjustments tend to reduce the calculated

toughness values as well as the slope of the resistance curve. It has recently

been pointed out by Ernst 4 that the adjustment procedure presently in use

may include a degree of conservatism that increases with decreasing

specimen size, as indicated by the J - T data shown in Fig. 2. Ernst 4

developed a modified crack extension adjustment procedure that tends to

eliminate the apparent size effects shown in Fig. 2. Application of the

modified adjustment results in an upward readjustment of the J - T data

for the small specimens and, as shown in Fig. 3, substantial agreement

with the larger specimen data. The possibility of relaxing the present

restrictions on the toughness levels that can be reached without exceeding

accuracy limits due to crack extension also was discussed by Ernst. 4 Since

the data shown in Fig. 1 were obtained from relatively small specimens

without Ernst's modified adjustment procedure, the correlation between

9000

JVST

A 508 C LASS 2A

TEMP. 400F

COMPACT SPECIMENS

a/W ~ 0.6

B = PROPORTIONAL

(W/2)

8000

7000

6000

49

-~o

10T

[]

4T

A

1T

O 1/2T

I'1

5000

[]

.E

v

[3

4000

O

[]

3000

/k

/k

2000

-0 0

[]

A

Z&O

A

0

A

D

0

1000

o

Fig. 2.

O[3

--

50

100

150

Y

J-integral-tearing modulus correlation for reactor vessel steel specimens (from

Ref. 4).

J. G. Merkle, R. E. Johnson

50

9000

Q~

JM VS T M

8000

[]

A 508 CLASS 2A

TEMP 400F

a/W = 0.6

B = PROPORTIONAL

(W/2)

[]

7000

10T

[-I

4T

/~

1T

O 1/2T

6000

5OOO

D

4000

n

@n

3000

D

0

2000

A

O

OA

A

0

A

O@rl-

1000

50

rl

100

150

TM

Fig. 3.

The same test results as in Fig. 2, after modification (from Ref. 4).

51

J5o and CVN shown in Fig. 1 may contain some unnecessary conservatism. Further evaluations of the modified adjustment are recommended, as well as the use of actual pressure vessel material test data

where possible.

CONCLUSIONS

The following conclusions were drawn from the work on application of

the elastic plastic pressure vessel analysis presented in NUREG-0744.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

straightforward manner to pressure vessels to determine the

pressure at ductile flaw instability.

Safety factors in terms of the ratio Tmat/Tapplgenerally will not be

the same as the corresponding safety factors expressed as stress or

load ratios and, for the examples chosen, the tearing modulus

ratio was shown to be quite large even though the corresponding

stress ratio was rather small.

The modified crack extension adjustment suggested by Ernst,

which appears to bring data from specimens of different sizes

together, should be evaluated and, if validated, applied because of

the significant increase in the indicated value of J at instability that

may result, especially for actual vessel materials.

The use of the actual resistance curves for vessel materials is

preferred over the use of conservative values obtained from the

correlations between Jso and CVN.

Where relevant data are available for a vessel to be analyzed, the

use of Aa values beyond the loading curve of slope J/T= 50 in lb/in 2

should be considered.

NOTE

Research sponsored by the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research,

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, under Interagency

Agreements 40-551-75 and 40-552-75 with the US Department of Energy

under Contract W-7405-eng-26 with the Union Carbide Corporation.

The work reported in this paper was done as an elaboration of a

suggested approach to evaluation of flaws in nuclear reactor pressure

52

J. G. Merkle, R. E. Johnson

vessels using the elastic-plastic fracture mechanics relationships developed under the NRC Unresolved Safety Issue Task A-11. The flaw

evaluation approach had been reported in the document NUREG-0744,

'For Comment'. One of the substantive comments received was that the

N U R E G report suffered from a lack of illustrative examples. The

authors, both of whom serve on the ASME Code Subcommittee that

plans to establish elastic-plastic fracture mechanics vessel margins,

prepared this report to provide some example calculations and to serve as

a basis for the committee work.

Although this paper has maintained the authors' version which

references the 'For Comment' version, the reader is advised that the final

report has been issued as NUREG-0744, Revision 1. With the issuance of

that document, the NRC completed Task A-11 and it became a resolved

issue. Responsibility for all implementation actions has been transferred

to the Division of Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation of the

NRC.

REFERENCES

I. Johnson, R., et al., Resolution of the reactor vessel materials toughness safety

issue, N UREG-0744, "For Comment', U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,

Washington, D.C., September 1981.

2. Rolfe, S. T. and Novak, S. R., Slow bend K~ctesting of medium-strength hightoughness steels, Review of Developments in Plane Strain Fracture Toughness

Testing, ASTM-463 American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia,

1970, pp. 124-59,

3. A S M E Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section Ili, Division 1, Nonmandatory Appendix G, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New

York, NY, 1980.

4. Ernst, H. A., Material resistance and instability beyond J-controlled crack

growth, Elastic' Plastic' Fracture, Second Syrnposium, Vol. 1, Inelastic' Crack

Analysis, ASTM STP 803, American Society for Testing and Materials,

Philadelphia, 1983, pp. 191 213.

The staff concludes that the approach and methodology described in the

following paragraphs provide an acceptable means for all commercial

* This appendix quotes the content of a page from NUREG-0744, ~For Comment'.

(Sections of the text have been italicized for emphasis by the present author.)

53

Appendix G, with regard to the need to demonstrate adequate margins

for continued operation when the requirements of Section V.B. (of

Appendix G) cannot be satisfied.

First, all plants should establish J - T curves for all materials in the

RPV, either from experimental J - R curves or by correlation with the

lower bound J (at J / T = 5 0 ) = f ( U S E ) curve. Second, the USE at the

plant-specific end of life (EOL) should be established in accordance with

10 CFR 50 and ASME Code. If the EOL USE>50ft-lb, the RPV is

acceptable (other factors, detailed in 10 CFR and in the Code, remain in

force). I f the EOL USE<_50ft-lb, either an E P F M analysis should be

perjormed in accordance with the concepts and examples in the Appendices

to this report, or a thermal anneal should be performed to restore the R P V

material toughness.

If the EPFM analysis is performed, the safety factor should be

compared with the following recommendations to determine the RPV

acceptability. To determine the safety factor, failure conditions must be

calculated conservatively from the J and T values at the intersection of the

relevant [J=f(t)]matl curve and the loading line of slope: J/T=50. For

normal and upset conditions (Levels A and B), the margin between failure

and operating conditions must be equivalent to the margin now required by

Appendix G. For emergency and faulted conditions (Levels C and D), the

value of Tappl m u s t be no more than one-half the value of T at the abovenamed curve intersection. The evaluation must recognize flaw growth

at J>Jlc. If the safety margin for some operating conditions is

unacceptable, the licensee may opt to modify the plant system, plant

operations, or both, to ensure that potentially damaging conditions are

avoided.

The schedule for implementation of these actions for operating plants

will be established concurrently with the issuing of this NUREG report

in final form. With publication of NUREG-0744, the need to modify

Appendix G to 10 CFR 50 (and possibly, Appendix H) will be established.

The responsibility for these modifications and the timing of that task will

be established by NRC.

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