Impact test exemption curves in ASME B31.3 [1] were adopted from ASME Section VIII Division 1 (VIII-1) [2] with subtle modifications. The VIII-1 exemption curves were generated based on early fracture mechanics methodologies and limited amount of test data with an assumption on maximum applied stress intended to correspond to the typical VIII-1 allowable stress criteria. The applicability of the exemption curves for low temperature applications of ASME B31.3 piping (such as blowdown events) is open to discussion because of potentially high longitudinal thermal expansion stresses that may exceed the VIII-1 allowable stress criteria. Additionally, unlike in VIII-1 and ASME Section VIII Division 2 (VIII-2) [3], there is no post weld heat treatment (PWHT) credit on Minimum Design Metal Temperature (MDMT) in ASME B31.3. Detailed fracture mechanics analyses have shown that PWHT can significantly reduce the risk of brittle fracture failures due to its relaxation effect on weld residual stresses, a major crack driving force.

In this paper, a fracture mechanics-based methodology for establishing Minimum Allowable Temperatures (MAT) for low temperature applications of ASME B31.3 piping is presented. A state-of-the-art fracture mechanics methodology published in Welding Research Council (WRC) Bulletin 562 [4] is used to develop step-by-step Level 1 and Level 2 procedures for establishing MAT for low temperature applications of ASME B31.3 piping. For the Level 1 methodology, MAT screening curves are developed based on a likely conservative assumption that the stresses in the piping component are at the maximum code allowable stresses in both the hoop and longitudinal directions. For the Level 2 methodology, stress ratio verses temperature reduction curves are developed to consider the effect of lower operating stresses. Similar to VIII-2 [3] toughness exemption curves, the screening curves are generated for both As-Welded and PWHT conditions. The curves can also be used for impact tested materials. The established MAT can be directly coupled to different reference flaw sizes and integrated with an inspection criteria for piping components. Two examples of establishing MAT using both the proposed Level 1 and Level 2 methodologies are presented herein.

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