Residual stresses in welded structural components can significantly compromise their performance and lifetime. Non-destructive measurement of such stresses remains a challenging task and neutron diffraction, in principle similar to X-ray diffraction, is used in this study. At the High Flux Reactor (HFR) of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), Petten, the Netherlands, a facility is available to investigate residual stresses in components of up to 1000 kg — the Large Component Neutron Diffraction Facility (LCNDF). Residual stress measurements in a dissimilar metal weld are presented. The specimen investigated is a full-scale mock-up of a pressure vessel to primary piping bi-metallic weld. The specimen wall thickness is 51 mm. A key issue in applying neutron diffraction to welds is the reliable estimation of the stress-free lattice spacing in the heat affected zones and weld pool. The description of the test procedure and the resulting strain/stress data are presented in this paper. Based on this a predictive FEM model has been calibrated. Comparison of test data and numerical results clearly shows that the neutron diffraction method as applied at the HFR, although touching its limits in this study, is still capable of yielding 3-D stress analysis data in steel specimens of more than 50 mm thickness.

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