The skirt-to-shell junction weld on coke drums is susceptible to fatigue failure due to severe thermal cyclic stresses. One method to decrease junction stress is to add slots near the top of the skirt, thereby reducing the local stiffness close to the weld. The most common skirt slot design is thin relative to its circumferential spacing. A new slot design, which is significantly wider, is proposed. In this study, thermal-mechanical elastoplastic 3-D finite element models of coke drums are created to analyze the effect of different skirt designs on the stress/strain field near the shell-to-skirt junction weld, as well as any other critical stress locations in the overall skirt design. The results confirm that the inclusion of the conventional slot design effectively reduces stress in the junction weld. However, it has also been found that the critical stress location migrates from the shell-to-skirt junction weld to the slot ends. A method is used to estimate the fatigue life near the critical areas of each skirt slot design. It is found that wider skirt slots provide a significant improvement on fatigue life in the weld and slot area.
Fracture toughness measurement is an integral part of structural integrity assessment of pipelines. Traditionally, a single-edge-notched bend (SE(B)) specimen with a deep crack is recommended in many existing pipeline structural integrity assessment procedures. Such a test provides high constraint and therefore conservative fracture toughness results. However, for girth welds in service, defects are usually subjected to primarily tensile loading where the constraint is usually much lower than in the three-point bend case. Moreover, there is increasing use of strain-based design of pipelines that allows applied strains above yield. Low-constraint toughness tests represent more realistic loading conditions for girth weld defects, and the corresponding increased toughness can minimize unnecessary conservatism in assessments. In this review, we present recent developments in low-constraint fracture toughness testing, specifically using single-edge-notched tension specimens, SENT or SE(T). We focus our review on the test procedure development and automation, round-robin test results and some common concerns such as the effect of crack tip, crack size monitoring techniques, and testing at low temperatures. Examples are also given of the integration of fracture toughness data from SE(T) tests into structural integrity assessment.
The thermal hydraulic (TH) behavior of coo-lant water is a key factor in the structural integrity assessments on reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) of pressurized water reactors (PWRs) under pressurized thermal shock (PTS) events, because the TH behavior may affect the loading conditions in the assessment. From the viewpoint of TH behavior, configuration of plant equipment and their dimensions, and operator action time considerably influence various parameters, such as the temperature and flow rate of coolant water and inner pressure. In this study, to investigate the influence of the operator action time on TH behavior during a PTS event, we developed an analysis model for a typical Japanese PWR plant, including the RPV and the main components of both primary and secondary systems, and performed TH analyses by using a system analysis code called RELAP5. We applied two different operator action times based on the Japanese and the United States (US) rules: Operators may act after 10 min (Japanese rules) and 30 min (the US rules) after the occurrence of PTS events. Based on the results of TH analysis with different operator action times, we also performed structural analyses for evaluating thermal-stress distributions in the RPV during PTS events as loading conditions in the structural integrity assessment. From the analysis results, it was clarified that differences in operator action times significantly affect TH behavior and loading conditions, as the Japanese rule may lead to lower stresses than that under the US rule because an earlier operator action caused lower pressure in the RPV.
Polyethylene (PE) pipe, particularly high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, has been successfully utilized to transport cooling water for both non-safety- and safety-related applications in nuclear power plant (NPP). Though ASME Code Case N755, which is the first code case related to NPP HDPE pipe, requires a thorough nondestructive examination (NDE) of HDPE joints. However, no executable regulations presently exist because of the lack of a feasible NDE technique for HDPE pipe in NPP. This work presents a review of current developments in NDE technology for both HDPE pipe in NPP with a diameter of less than 400 mm and that of a larger size. For the former category, phased array ultrasonic technique is proven effective for inspecting typical defects in HDPE pipe, and is thus used in Chinese national standards GB/T 29460 and GB/T 29461. A defect-recognition technique is developed based on pattern recognition, and a safety assessment principle is summa-rized from the database of destructive testing. On the other hand, recent research and practical studies reveal that in current ultrasonic-inspection technology, the absence of effective ultrasonic inspection for large size was lack of consideration of the viscoelasticity effect of PE on acoustic wave propagation in current ultrasonic inspection techno-logy. Furthermore, main technical problems were analyzed in the paper to achieve an effective ultrasonic test method in accordance to the safety and efficiency requirements of related regulations and standards. Finally, the development trend and challenges of NDE test technology for HDPE in NPP are discussed.
A balancing method without trial weights based on the dynamic similitude scale model was proposed as a solution to the balancing problem of a large-scale rotor system. This method could be used to directly obtain the required coefficients for the balancing problem of the prototype system through a similarity model test without a prototype test. Thus, the weight test process of the prototype system was effectively eliminated in the proposed balancing method. First, with the rotor system as the research object, the analytical expression of the influence coefficient was derived on the basis of rotor dynamics theory. Then, through calculation and dimensional analysis methods, the similitude relationships of the rotor system and the influence coefficient were deduced on the basis of dynamic similitude theory. The correctness of the proposed similitude relationships was verified through numerical simulation and experiment. The balancing method without trial weights was proposed based on the similitude relationship of the influence coefficient. The effect of the balancing method without trial weights was compared with that of the traditional influence coefficient method through numerical simulation, and the results verified the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed balancing method. The results of this study provide theoretical supplements for the balancing method and the similitude design of the rotor system.
The transverse stiffness and vibration characteristics of discontinuous beams can significantly differ from those of continuous beams given that an abrupt change in stiffness may occur at the interface of the former. In this study, the equations for the deflection curve and vibration frequencies of a simply supported discontinuous beam under axial loads are derived analytically on the basis of boundary, continuity, and deformation compatibility conditions by using equivalent spring models. The equation for the deflection curve is solved using undetermined coefficient methods. The normal function of the transverse vibration equation is obtained by separating variables. The differential equations for the beam that consider moments of inertia, shearing effects, and gyroscopic moments are investigated using the transfer matrix method. The deflection and vibration frequencies of the discontinuous beam are studied under different axial loads and connection spring stiffness. Results show that deflection decreases and vibration frequencies increase exponentially with increasing connection spring stiffness. Moreover, both variables remain steady when connection spring stiffness reaches a considerable value. Lastly, an experimental study is conducted to investigate the vibration characteristics of a discontinuous beam with a curvic coupling, and the results exhibit a good match with the proposed model.