A thermal ratcheting test was performed using an elbow model test specimen subjected to sustained primary load and cyclic thermal transient strains. Under severe loading conditions incremental longitudinal strains are observed in the region where a circumferential angle is around ± π/9 from the side of the elbow, while the elbow cross section was ovalized cycle by cycle causing large circumferential bending strain at around φ = π/2. It was shown by the test and analyses that the maximum primary membrane stress in an elbow is an essential parameter for thermal ratcheting behavior of elbows. Direct application of thermal ratcheting criteria in the ASME Code Case N-47 showed considerable conservative estimation and an improved thermal ratcheting criterion for elbows is recommended.

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