A simplified J-integral evaluation method applicable to unstable failure analysis in Leak Before Break (LBB) assessment of Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) in Japan was proposed. Mod.9Cr-1Mo steel is supposed to be a candidate material for the coolant systems of SFR in Japan. This steel has relatively high yield strength and poor fracture toughness comparing to those of conventional austenitic stainless steels. In addition, SFR pipe has small thickness and large diameter. Furthermore, in SFR, primary stresses are insignificant and displacement controlled secondary stresses are predominant. Therefore, the load balance in such piping system changes by crack extension and R6 (2-parameter) method (hereinafter “2-parameter method”) [1] using J-integral is applicable to unstable failure analysis for the pipes under such loading conditions. As a J-integral evaluation method for circumferential through-wall crack in a cylinder, EPRI has proposed a fully plastic solution method. However, the geometry of SFR pipe and material characteristics of Mod.9Cr-1Mo steel exceed the applicable range of EPRI’s method. Therefore, a series of elastic, elasto-plastic and plastic finite element analyses (FEA) were performed for a pipe with a circumferential through-wall crack to propose a J-integral evaluation method applicable to such loading conditions. J-integrals obtained from the FEA were resolved into elastic, local plastic and fully plastic components. Each component was expressed as a function of analytical parameter, such as pipe geometries, crack size, material characteristics and so on. As a result, a simplified J-integral evaluation method was proposed. The method enables to conduct 2-parameter method using J-integral without any fracture mechanics knowledge.

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