Explicit understanding of the residual stress field of primary submarine pressure hull induced during fabrication will improve the fidelity of numerical analysis and experimentation. Hence, supporting operational envelope and design life extension initiatives.

The fatigue lifetime of a submarine hull depends on the loads generated by hull contraction under the effect of hydrostatic pressure and the residual stresses existing in the absence of external loading. The use of numerical simulation allows a straightforward calculation of the stresses induced by the hydrostatic pressure. The effect of residual stress could be determined using the current failure assessment procedures, like BS7910 and R6. However it is more intricate to determine the residual stresses resulting from the sheet bending process combined with the sheet assembly using a multipass welding process.

There are several measurement techniques available to measure residual stresses. They are often classified by their level of destructiveness and their penetration.In order to compare the different measurement techniques an elastic-plastic bent beam sample has been chosen as it is very comparable to the residual stress field induced during the sheet bending process used in the submarine structure. Four bent beams have been measured using five different techniques: Incremental centre hole drilling, ring core, neutron diffraction, slitting and deep hole drilling technique. The results from measurement techniques show an excellent agreement when compared with the FEA.

In order to measure a full scale Rubis class submarine hull a limited number of techniques can be used, as the technique needs to be portable. The Deep Hole Drilling (DHD) technique was chosen because the neutron diffraction would require extracting a small test sample of about 400mm × 400mm, hence redistributing the residual stresses that were intended to be measured. Six measurements were carried out at different angular positions to detect variability in manufacture on a Rubis class submarine and a probabilistic calculation was done using all six DHD measurements. The Rubis class measurement results are also compared with two other submarine types, found in the literature.

Understanding the three-dimensional behaviour of residual stress in this type of structure provides a valuable resource to the numerical modelling community. The results can also support fatigue and fracture experimental work and may help increasing the operating life of 28 year old French nuclear submarine.

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