For structural integrity assessment of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) in JEAC 4206-2016, it is required that the fracture toughness (KJc) be higher than the stress intensity factor at the crack tip of a postulated under-clad crack (UCC) near the inner surface of RPV steel under the pressurized thermal shock event. Previous analytical studies showed a low constraint effect at the crack tip of an UCC, compared with that of a normal surface crack. Such a low constraint effect may increase the apparent KJc. In this study, we performed three-point bending (3PB) fracture toughness tests and finite element analysis (FEA) for RPV steel containing an UCC or a surface crack to quantitatively investigate the effect of cladding on the KJc. The FEAs considering the anisotropic property of the cladding successfully reproduced the load vs. load-line displacement curves obtained from the tests. We found that the apparent KJc for the UCC was considerably higher than that for the surface crack. FEA also showed that the constraint effect for the 3PB test specimen with the UCC was lower than that for the specimen with the surface crack owing to the cladding. Thus, a low constraint effect from an UCC may increase the apparent KJc.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.