Irradiation embrittlement of Japanese reactor pressure vessels (RPV) is usually monitored by conducting tests on irradiated RPV material according to surveillance test program. Although fracture toughness specimens are contained in Japanese PWR surveillance capsule, the number of specimens is limited due to capacity of capsule. In order to evaluate lower bound of fracture toughness considering its scatter with higher reliability, it is expected to obtain additional fracture toughness data using remaining broken specimens of irradiated materials.
One of solutions to this problem is specimen reconstitution technique. However, it is difficult to make numbers of specimens by reconstitution because of need for specific equipments and time-consuming machining operations. As an alternative method, fracture toughness test using miniature C(T) specimens with dimension of 4×10×10mm, which can be taken from broken halves of Charpy specimen, is proposed and the studies to verify the reliability and robustness of evaluation method have been conducted in the Japanese round robin program since 2010.
In this study, fracture toughness tests were performed on Japanese SA 533 Gr.B Cl.1 steel using miniature C(T) specimens and the effect of specimen size on reference temperature T0 was studied by the Master Curve approach. In addition, the issues related to application to irradiated materials were discussed.