A tailored-for-purpose environmental fatigue testing facility was previously developed to perform direct strain-controlled tests on stainless steel in simulated PWR water. Strain in specimen mid-section is generated by the use of pneumatic bellows, and eddy current measurement is used as a feedback signal. The procedure conforms with the ASTM E 606 practice for low cycle fatigue, giving results which are directly compatible with the major NPP design codes.

Past studies were compiled in the NUREG/CR-6909 report and environmental reduction factors Fen were proposed to account for fatigue life reduction in hot water as compared to a reference value in air. This database exclusively contained non-stabilized stainless steels, mainly tested under stroke control. The applicability of the stainless steel Fen factor for stabilized alloys was already challenged in past papers (PVP2013-97500, PVP2014-28465). The results presented in this paper follow the same overall trend of lower experimental values (4.12–11.46) compared to those expected according to the NUREG report (9.49–10.37).

In this paper results of a dual strain rate test programme on niobium stabilized AISI 347 type stainless steel are presented and discussed in the context of the NUREG/CR-6909 Fen methodology. Special attention is paid to the effect of strain signal on fatigue life, which according to current prediction methods does not affect the value of Fen.

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