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Ultrasonic Examination of T, K, Y Typical weld joints of Austenitic Stainless steel for


Reactor Components of PFBR Our Experience.
T.Loganathan1, a, Dr.Prabhat Kumar2, b, B.Anandabadmanaban1, c, Dr.Venkatraman1, d

1
Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, India
2
Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited, Kalpakkam, India
E-mail: aloganath@igcar.gov.in; b pkumar@igcar.gov.in; c bap@igcar.gov.in;
d
bvenkat@igcar.gov.in

Key words: Ultrasonic Examination; Weld joints; Reactor Components.


Abstract

The second phase of Indian Nuclear Programme, 500MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR)
of pool type, mixed oxide fuelled, sodium cooled nuclear reactor is nearing completion stage of
construction at Kalpakkam, Tamilnadu, India.

The reactor components of PFBR is larger in size, varying thickness with challenging design,
fabricated by Austenitic Stainless Steel for compatibility with liquid Sodium, which is being used as
coolant both in primary and secondary system of PFBR.
Ultrasonic examination of Austenitic Stainless Steel Welds has been considered as difficult due to
high level of scatter, attenuation, often prevents observation of defects by low signal to noise ratio,
beam splitting and skewing effects and spurious echo from the weld hinder interpretation and it is
much more complicated with typical T,K,Y type weld joints.
This paper describes work carried out and validated on ultrasonic examination for various
configurations of weld joints of reactor components.
1.0 Introduction:
In construction of Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor major Reactor Assembly Components are
made of Austenitic stainless steel with varying thickness in the order of 10 to 50mm are
encountered. The governing codes are RCC-MR and PFBR specification, Ultrasonic examination
employing normal beam as well as longitudinal angle beam scanning has to be considered. The
austenitic stainless steel with varying thicknesses of weld ment in order to analyze the fundamental
aspects of beam propagation in carrying out a meaningful ultrasonic examination and evaluation of
the weld joints studied. The danger in the approach is that the technique which is satisfactory on one
weld may fail completely when applied to another, even though the second one has been fabricated
using identical procedures. The PFBR reactor assembly components are large in size with Principal
material of austenitic stainless steel 316LN with different weld configurations are needed to be
examined by ultrasonic examination. This paper describes typical weld configuration of Single vee,
Double vee of T, K, Y type austenitic stainless steel weld joints for PFBR components have been
validated for ultrasonic examination.
2.0 Austenitic Stainless Steel Welds, Effects of Microstructures Grain Growth and
Metallurgical Variables towards Ultrasonic Examination:
The grain structure in austenitic welds differs markedly from that of Ferritic steel welds. In both
welds, the solidification process during welding initially produces a columnar grain structure in
each weld bead and grain growth along the maximum thermal gradients in the bead. The grain
growth in this particular direction faster than in other directions and leads to the rapid disappearance
of unfavorably oriented grains. Deposition of subsequent weld metal reheats the bead, in the case of
a Ferritic weld, the columnar grain structure is destroyed by the austenitic- ferrite phase
transformation that occurs as the solid cools. No such transition occurs in the austenitic alloys
considered and consequently the columnar grain structure formed. Furthermore, each new weld
bead re-melts the surface of the preceding beads and the new grains epiaxial on the existing ones
with several centimeters. The local direction of growth of the columnar grains is governed by the
thermal gradient with in the weld bead and in turn is influenced by the welding procedure, with in
each bead; the gradient is determined by the solid metal in contact with the bead as it cools.
Different type of welding procedures produces their own characteristic grain pattern. Generally
columnar grain will start to grow perpendicular to the surface of the weld edge preparation.
However they may gradually alter their direction in a manner depending on the welding process and
related heat flow during solidifications and shall be controlled by weld parameters, interpass
temperatures with minimum heat input to avoid cracks by fast air cooling or copper chills.
2.1 Velocity, Attenuation and Beam Skewing:
Sound travels through a material at a velocity characteristic of that material, and the type of wave
being propagated. Velocity depends on the density and elasticity of the material and in bulk
modulus depends on poisons ratio. The major practical problem in ultrasonic examination of
austenitic weld is the occurrence of high attenuation and scattering which may the direction of the
ultrasonic beam in a weld material due to coarse grain combination grain at HAZ. Scatter also
depends upon material being tested, the larger the grain size, the grater the scatter. Transparency of
ultrasonic sound in austenitic weld and noise ratio achievable depend on attenuation. The
attenuation is minimum at 45 and maximum at 0 and 90. The skewing effect of beam is the result
of multiple refraction at successive in the grain face. In addition, the columnar structure of the weld
control of beam skewing and beam deviation is zero at 45.

2.2. Distance Amplitude Correction (DAC):


Distance Amplitude Correction Curve decides the examination sensitivity, location of reference,
reflection, penetration, and noise level and probe suitability. DACs were established for weld centre
line as well as for fusion line reflection. A wide variety of weld materials and samples welded under
different conditions have been examined and it is clear that these facts are a general property of
austenitic welds which arise from the intrinsic fibrous structures of the weld metal and yet fully
understand the detailed empirically for it to be decided to develop improved inspection procedures
for specific weld geometries in combination of selected Ultrasonic equipments.
3.0 Design Requirements and the need for NDE Developments:
The Fast Breeder Reactor specification specifies the NDE other than verification of physical and
Mechanical properties, LPE, Radiographic examination, where radiography not possible for proper
interpretation, ultrasonic examination shall be carried out. The Reactor components are not of
normal weld configuration and are of typical butt type of T, K, Y weld joints are need to examined
only by Ultrasonic examination for volume metric examination of welds.
Fast Reactor , RA components of SV, MV, CC, CSS, MCP,TB,GP, IV were made of austenitic
stainless steel 316 LN(Mod) as principle material for fabrication and involve, various configurations
of such as single vee, double vee of typical T,K,Y type weld joints.
Ultrasonic examination of austenitic stainless steel welds has been considered as difficult due to
high level of scatter, attenuation, often prevents observation of defects by low signal to noise ratio,
beam splitting and skewing effects and spurious echo from weld hinder interpretation and lamellar
tearing , under bead cracking and it much more complicated with typical T, K, Y type weld joints
are taken in to consideration and developed ultrasonic test procedure for various welding position,
process and thickness etc.
4.0 Ultrasonic Examination:
Material: SS 316LN, Welding Process/Position: GTAW+ SMAW 2G, 3G and 4G, Weld plate
dimension: 1000 X 300 X 25/30/40 mm and Ultrasonic testing by normal and angle beam
examination have been carried out on T,K,Y joints using WSY 45, WSY60, WSY 70, MSEB 0
(Fig.1)

Fig. 1 Weld Joint Configurations

4.1 Calibration Block & scanning directions:


The calibration block, reference reflector has been chosen as 2mm dia hole (SDH) drilled to a depth
of 25mm from the edges of the block, the weld was etched and the placement reference holes UT
scanning directions. (Table. I/II & fig.2 & 2A).
Table I: Dimensions of calibration block

Sl.no Groove Calibratio Orientation Dimension of calibration Depth of hole from top
Type n Block of Defects block (mm) surface of weld (mm)
No in weld Length Width Thickne 1 st 2 nd 3rd hole
ss hole hole
1 Double 1 Longitudin 300 100 30/40 10 15/20 20/35
V al
2 Transverse 300 100 30/40 10 15/20 20/35
2 K Type 3 Longitudin 200 100 25/30 10 13/15 20/25
al
4 Transverse 300 100 25/30 10 13/15 20/25
3 T Joint 5 Longitudin 175 75 40 10 15 25
al
Transverse 175 75 40 10 15 25

Fig. 2 T, K, Y welds configurations & UT Calibration block.


Table II: Scanning directions for Reactor components weld joints
DOUBLE - V K - TYPE TRIPLE POINT
Scanning Search Unit Scanning Search Unit Scanning Search Unit
Direction Direction Direction
MS WS WSY MB WS WSY WSY MSEB WSY
EB Y45 60-4 4F Y45 60-4 04 45-4
70-4
4 -4 -4

1 1 1
2 2 2
3 3 3
4 4
5 5

Fig. 2A Ultrasonic Examination Scanning directions.


4.2 Ultrasonic Test Parameters:
Equipment : M/s Sonatest make, Sitescan 230digital ultrasonic flaw detector
Probe : WSY Series of Krautkramer make 45, 60, 70 and Twin crystal
Transmitter receiver probe MSEB 0, 4MHz transducers.
Calibration Block : Longitudinal & Transverse welds with 2mm side drilled
hole, 25mm thick.
Ultrasonic Inspection Parameters & DAC Table III/IV/V/VI &DAC Fig 3&4.

Test Parameters WSY 45 WSY 60 WSY 70 MESB 0


Zero offset( Probe
14.755 14.299 14.969 9.520
index)
Range 50mm 60mm 100mm 50mm
Velocity 5565 m/s 5565 m/s 5565 m/s 5825 m/s (weld)
Gain dB (3&4) 69.5 95.5 85.5 85.5
Gain dB (1&2) 85.0 94.5 91.5

Table IVWSY 45

Scan Depth Skip Beam path Amplitude %


Point No
direction (mm) (mm) (mm) Direction 3&4 Direction 1&2
Point no:2 4 5 5 7.0 50 80
Point no:1 3 10 10 14.0 60 >100
Point no:3 3/4 12.5 12.5 17.5 80 55
Point no:1 4 15 15 21.0 40 35
Point no:2 3 20 20 28.0 55 80

Table V WSY 60

Scan Depth Skip Beam path Amplitude %


Point No
direction (mm) (mm) (mm) Direction 3&4 Direction 1&2
Point no:2 4 5 8.65 10 45 50
Point no:1 3 10 17.3 20 75 63
Point no:3 3/4 12.5 21.6 25 70 80
Point no:1 4 15 25.95 30 40 35

Table VI WSY 70

Scan Depth Skip Beam path Amplitude %


Point No
direction (mm) (mm) (mm) Direction 3&4 Direction 1&2
Point no:2 4 5 13.75 14.6 75 45
Point no:1 3 10 27.5 29.2 70 75
Point no:3 3/4 12.5 34.375 36.5 80 >100
Point no:1 4 15 41.25 43.8 30 60
Point no:2 3 20 55.0 58.4 40 50
4.3 Scanning for Transverse Defects
Ultrasonic scanning for transverse defects in the weld and heat affected zone has been carried out
using the transverse calibration block -MV 13 (fig.5). The K weld joint has been made to the
dimensions of 200mm (L), 100mm wide and 25mm thick. Drawing the DAC curve a variation in
grain around 4-6dB was observed between weld and heat affected zone. More over the beam
interaction with the position of the hole and the reflecting nature from the position decides the
amplitude for drawing the DAC curve. The near field zone of the transducer is also should be taken
into account while establishing the DAC (Table VII &fig-5&6).
Table VII WSY 45 Transverse scanning directions

Scan Depth Skip Beam path Amplitude


Point No
direction (mm) (mm) (mm) %
Point no:2 Weld Centre 5 5 7.0 80
Point no:1 Weld Centre 10 10 14.0 65
Point no:3 Weld Centre 12.5 12.5 17.5 ..
Point no:1 Weld Centre 15 15 21.0 50
Point no:2 Weld Centre 20 20 28.0 40

4.4 Scanning By 0 TR probe (MSEB 0 4MHz)


The DAC points chosen have been tabulated in Table VIII. Sufficient care has been taken to
position the transducer within the weld region for establishing the DAC.
Table VIII MSEB 0

Point No Scan Depth Amplitude


direction (mm)
Point no:2 Weld Centre 5 80
Point no:1 Weld Centre 10 70
Point no:3 Weld Centre 12.5 60
Point no:1 Weld Centre 15 50
Point no:2 Weld Centre 20 40

5.0 Improved Methodology for configurations and Scan Limits for Both Surfaces of Welds:
Austenitic weld inspections using longitudinal angle beam inspection is limited to zero to half skip
distance and associate with shear waves existing in the material with a low angle of incidence.
Beyond half skip distance, the reflections from the far off boundary may cause mode converted
echoes and give rise to mis- interpretation of signals in the CRT. Unlike the single vee and double
vee welds. T, K, Y welds has different characteristics and placement of holes plays an important
role in establishing the DAC. When considering the limitation with respect to scan limits of
longitudinal angle beam probe (0 to half skip), the plot of DAC points becomes important to inspect
the full volume of the weld area and the heat-affected zone. The weld crown width is around 20mm
from the vertical fusion face. The inspection zone is total weld plus13mm form the fusion faces
which amounts to 13+20+13=46mm.
6.0 Conclusion:
The general concept of taking the back wall echo from the parent metal or weld as reference for any
normal and angle beam examination on austenitic stainless steel weldment is no longer an effective
method especially the weld configuration are of T, K ,Y type austenitic stainless steel of critical
weld joints for reactor components. Ultrasonic examination of austenitic stainless steel welds has
been considered as difficult due to high level of scatter, attenuation, often prevents observation of
defects by low signal to noise ratio, beam splitting and skewing effects and spurious echo from weld
hinder interpretation and is much more complicated with typical T, K, Y type weld joints are taken
in to consideration and developed ultrasonic test procedure for various welding position, process
and thickness etc.
It is always essential that standard side drilled holes (SDH) on the weld at various locations to cover
entire volume of typical T, K, Y type weld joints, should be made as reference for austenitic welds,
for normal and angle beam ultrasonic examination.