The welded joints are particularly sensitive areas in the structures in terms of harmfulness of defects. Given the complexity of the problem (geometry poorly controlled, multi-material aspect, the potential influence of residual stresses), the tests are conducted based on pessimistic assumptions that can wrap all the uncertainties of the problem. In the case of a defect assessment, the considered toughness is deduced from conventional characterization tests with a crack in the welding, considering the current standards, ISO 12135 [1] or ASTM E-1820 [ 2] which are valid only for an homogeneous specimen. In 2010, a new standard ISO 16563 [3] was published to address the specificity of welded joints. If it covers some of the difficulties, it remains incomplete. In nuclear piping, welds have a mismatch M, ie the ratio between the yield strength of the weld metal and the base metal, usually greater than 1: this avoids any problem of strain localization at the junction and ensure that the stresses in the base metal are also easily supported by the welded joint. In this configuration, it turns out that for a given mechanical loading, a crack in the weld located generally has a solicitation, quantified by the parameter J, less (depending on the size of the junction) to those that would see the same crack located in the base metal. Unfortunately, this phenomenon exists also potentially for a characterization test, which would overestimate the true toughness of the welded joint. Plasticity that develops from the crack tip can quickly reach this interface and be affected. To evaluate this phenomenon, we considered two types of representative welded joint (PWR secondary loop ferritic weld and a 316 stainless steel weld) and performed a F.E. analysis of the multi-material CT specimen mechanical answer and on the η coefficient conventionally used to derive the plastic component of J from the area under the curve force-opening displacement.

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