The overspeed capability of the large steel flywheels used on light water reactor primary coolant pumps has been evaluated through a combined analytical and experimental effort. Limiting speeds of the prototype flywheel design were calculated for the ductile failure mode using the principles of Section III of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, and for the brittle fracture mode using a fracture mechanics approach in which stress intensity factors were determined from finite element computer analysis. The accuracy of the analytical approach was verified by a scale model test program which demonstrates excellent agreement between experiment and analysis. The results of the evaluation are presented in this paper, and they illustrate the kinds of things which can be accomplished through application of modern fracture mechanics technology, including plasticity considerations, to the solution of hardware problems of real engineering interest.

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