Three-dimensional finite element models are used to analyze a reactor pressure vessel with an axial semi-elliptical surface crack subjected to pressurized thermal shock. During the thermal shock event, the J-A2 two-parameter fracture theory is used to investigate the temperature-dependent constraint effect at the deepest point and the surface point of the crack. Using the R6 methodology, a series of constraint-based crack failure assessment curves during the thermal shock can be obtained. It was found that the crack tip constraint should be considered for developing a more realistic failure criterion.

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