The rules for the prevention of thermal stress ratchet in NB-3222.5 address the interaction of general primary membrane stress with two types of cyclic thermal loading. The first is a linear through-wall temperature gradient, for which the shakedown boundary is given by the well-known Bree diagram. The Code provides a second shakedown boundary for the interaction of general primary membrane stress with a “parabolic” temperature distribution. The corresponding ratchet boundary is fully defined in the elastic range, but only three points are given in the elastic-plastic regime. The range of validity of this ratchet boundary in terms of the thermal stress distribution (does “parabolic” mean second-order in the thickness coordinate or any polynomial of degree greater than one? If it is second-order, are there any further restrictions?) is not well defined in NB-3222.5.
Using a direct lower bound method of shakedown analysis, the non-cyclic method, an exact analytical solution is derived for the shakedown boundary corresponding to the interaction of general primary membrane stress with a cyclic “parabolic” temperature distribution. By comparison to what is given in NB-3222.5, the thermal condition for which the Code equation is valid is defined and its range of validity is established. To study the transition behavior to the steady state and to confirm the analytical solution, numerical results using an FE model are also obtained.