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Title: Advanced imaging and mechanistic modelling of ductile fracture
Author: Daly, Michael Andre John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 5281
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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Nuclear Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPV) are manufactured from medium strength low alloy ferritic steel, specifically selected for its high toughness and good weldability. The ability of the RPV material to resist crack growth is crucial given that it is one of the fundamental containment safety systems of nuclear power plants. For most of their lifetime, the RPV operates at sufficiently elevated temperatures to ensure the material is ductile. However, the development of ductile damage, in the form of voids, and the ability to predict ductile tearing in RPV materials using a mechanistically-based model remains difficult. The Gurson-Tvergaard-Needleman (GTN) model of ductile tearing provides one such tool for predicting ductile damage development in RPV materials. The difficulty in using the GTN model lies in the ability to calibrate the model parameters in a robust manner. The parameters are typically calibrated data, derived from fracture tests and relying on an iterative “trial and error” procedure of numerical simulations and comparison with test data until the model reproduces the experimental behaviour with sufficient accuracy. This research has addressed the development of a mechanistically-based approach to the calibration of the GTN model by developing a new understanding of the ductile fracture mechanism in RPV material through conventional metallography and 3D X-ray computed tomography to image the initiation, growth and coalescence of ductile voids. The metallographic and tomographic data were analysed in a quantitative manner to establish a direct link between the microstructural features and void evolution and the key parameters of the GTN model. This approach has established a more robust mechanistically based method for the calibration of the GTN model that will enhance the conventional iterative calibration procedure. The calibrated model was applied to predict ductile tearing behaviour in compact-tension and notched-tensile specimens. The results showed good agreement with test data and also reproduced the morphology and branching of crack extension observed in practise. Whilst these observations were due, in part, to the numerical solving procedure, they enabled new insights to be gained regarding the development of non-uniform void volume fraction distributions in tested specimensThe results from this research will strengthen the guidance provided to structural integrity engineers in industry regarding the calibration and application of ductile damage mechanics models such as the GTN model for predicting ductile initiation and growth in RPV materials.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: John Sharples (AMEC) ; EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Eng.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ductile ; Tearing ; Reactor Pressure Vessel ; A508 Grade 3 Class 1 Steel ; 3D X-ray Tomography