Piping systems are one of the central components of NPP; It is well known that the major failure mode under seismic loads is likely to be fatigue failure. Other failure modes, however, such as ratchet-buckling failure, have been reported to occur under particular conditions. It is necessary to clarify the conditions that cause different failure modes of piping systems under very high seismic motion, but experimental studies with steel pipes are difficult to achieve, mainly due to the limitations of testing facilities and safety concerns. In order to overcome such difficulties, we propose a new experimental approach that uses pipes made of a simulation material instead of steel. Lead (Pb) pipes were used for the simulation material, and shaking table tests were conducted on lead elbow pipe specimens. Results showed that ratchet-collapse and overall deformation of pipe specimens were possible failure modes. The ratchet-collapse failure mode appeared to be affected not only by input acceleration level but also by the direction of gravity, the primary constant stress level of its own weight, and the frequencies of the input motion. The dynamic behaviors of pipes in the high inelastic region where a nearly fully plastic section was assumed were quite different from those in the elastic region, and those of the steel pipes in previous studies. We demonstrate that the proposed test approach is effective for qualitatively clarifying various kinds of failure behaviors with large plasticity under excessive seismic load.

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