Several vibration-induced failures at the root of small bore piping systems occurred in French nuclear power plants in past years. The evaluation of the failure risk of the small bore pipes requires a fair estimation of the bending stress under operating conditions. As the use of strain gauges is too time-consuming in the environmental conditions of nuclear power plants, on-site acceleration measurements combined with numerical models are easier to handle. It still requires yet a large amount of updating work to estimate the stress in multi-span pipes with elbows and supports. The aim of the present study is to propose an alternate approach using two accelerometers to measure the local nozzle deflection, and an analytical expression of the bending stiffness of the nozzle on the main pipe. A first formulation is based on a static deformation assumption, thus allowing the use of a simple analog converter to get an estimation of the RMS value of the bending stress. To get more accurate results, a second method is based on an Euler Bernoulli deformation assumption: a spectral analyzer is then required to get an estimation of the spectrum of the bending stress. A better estimation of its RMS value is then obtained. An experimental validation of the methods based on strain gauges has been successfully performed.

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