Zr-2.5Nb pressure tubes are primary pressure boundaries in a CANDU2 reactor. Design of pressure tube dimensions allows testing of a pressure tube section at its full size in the laboratory. Burst tests, i.e., internally pressuring pressure tube sections containing axial through-wall cracks till burst, have been used to provide test data of fracture toughness for pressure tubes with axial flaws. The advantage of measuring fracture toughness from burst tests is that measured toughness values are directly applicable to operating pressure tubes. Burst tests, however, are costly and consume considerable amount of material. Only a small number of burst tests can be performed in practice. There is strong motivation to estimate burst test fracture toughness using data from small specimen tests. The estimated burst test fracture toughness can fill the gap in the measured burst test toughness data, as well as provide information on material variability and data scatter.
The technical challenge for estimating burst test toughness is that the estimated burst test toughness using data from low cost, small specimen tests must be reliable and representative of burst test specimen behavior with high confidence. A framework for accurately estimating burst test toughness using data from curved compact tests has been under development and is described in this paper. Aspects of technical basis and current status of developing analytical procedures for systematically estimating burst test toughness are presented.