The work reported in this paper investigates the complex manufacture and through-life operation of a pipework joint in a UK AGR boiler. Residual stresses resulting from the fabrication process can be a key driver for creep and creep-fatigue damage. The calculation of creep-fatigue damage for assessment purposes is typically undertaken within the framework of an appropriate assessment code (such as British Energy’s R5). The standard assessment approach usually requires the undertaking of elastic finite element analysis followed by Neuber construction to convert elastic stress ranges into elastic-plastic stress and strain ranges prior to the calculation of creep-fatigue damage. A combination of explicit and implicit finite element methods are employed in order to simulate a range of manufacturing processes which influence the material state for a branched pipework joint. The solution is effectively obtained within one finite element model, with re-meshing performed where necessary. This solution then feeds into a finite element based structural integrity assessment. The methods utilise the principles outlined in the British Energy R5 assessment code but utilise the inelastic strains calculated directly from analysis. The methods are based around the general purpose finite-element code Abaqus enhanced by the use of user-defined subroutines CREEP and UVARM. This paper describes analyses performed to simulate the complex manufacturing history of a branched pipework component, and to estimate its subsequent in service creep-fatigue damage using finite element based methods.

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