The current ASME Code Section III NB-3200 rules on thermal stress ratchet require that the thermal stress must be less than the ratchet condition that Bree established for a cyclic pure thermal bending stress as a function of the level of primary membrane stress. It has been shown that this method can predict shakedown when elastic-perfectly plastic analysis shows ratcheting. However, there is also conservatism in the Code rules because the highest stresses that dominate the evaluation of a component are typically found at discontinuities, where there is a stress gradient at least in the axial direction. The stress limits, on the other hand, are based on stress distributions that are constant in the axial (and circumferential) direction.
This paper investigates the effect of thermal discontinuities on the shakedown limit in the presence of a thermal through-wall gradient and a pressure-induced primary stress. The investigation is based on the simple model of a cylinder with an isolated thermal discontinuity. The effect of proximity to another discontinuity is explored, to obtain the minimum distance between two discontinuities that would allow them to be considered separately. Simple rules are developed and proposed to take potentially advantage of higher stress limits at an isolated discontinuity.