Research Papers: Materials and Fabrication

Probabilistic Prediction of Crack Depth Distributions Observed in Structures Subjected to Thermal Fatigue

[+] Author and Article Information
Tai Asayama

 Japan Atomic Energy Agency, 4002 Narita, Oarai, Ibaraki 311-1393, Japan

Hideki Takasho, Takehiko Kato

 Joyo Industry, Ltd., 4002 Narita, Oarai, Ibaraki 311-1393, Japan

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 131(1), 011402 (Nov 24, 2008) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3027457 History: Received May 28, 2007; Revised February 29, 2008; Published November 24, 2008

The application of risk-based technologies not only to in-service inspections but also to the design of components and systems, encompassing a plant life-cycle, is the way to be pursued for the improvement of design of new reactors such as fast breeder reactors. When doing so, it is necessary to develop an analytical method that is capable of estimating failure probabilities without a failure database that can only be established on the long-time accumulation of operational experiences. The prediction method should estimate failure probabilities based on actual mechanisms that cause failure. For this purpose, this study developed a structural reliability evaluation method using probabilistic prediction of crack depth distributions for thermal fatigue, which is one of representative failure modes to be prevented in components of nuclear plants. This method is an extension of probabilistic fracture mechanics approach but is capable of modeling crack initiation, crack propagation, and crack depth density distribution at a given cycle. To verify the methodology, crack depth distribution observed in thermal fatigue test specimens was evaluated, and it was shown that the method could reproduce the observed crack depth distributions fairly well. This is considered to explore the possibility that probabilistic fracture mechanics approach can be verified by experiments, which was deemed impossible so far. Further improvement such as explicit implementation of interaction mechanisms between adjacent cracks will allow this methodology to be applied to the procedure of optimization of in-service inspection planning, as well as to the optimization of safety factors in component design of nuclear plants.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Models used for finite element analysis

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Figure 2

Cracks initiated and propagated in a network shape

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Figure 3

Histogram of crack depth

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Figure 4

Histogram of crack space

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Figure 5

Correlation between crack depth and space

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Figure 6

Deterministic crack propagation evaluation

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Figure 7

Probabilistic evaluation of crack depth density distribution

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Figure 8

Semi-elliptical model to calculate interaction of cracks

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Figure 9

Reduction of stress intensity factor due to stress relaxation caused by multiple cracks



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