Effect of High-Temperature Water Environment on the Fracture Behaviour of Low-Alloy RPV Steels

  • Z. QueEmail author
  • H. P. Seifert
  • P. Spätig
  • G. S. Rao
  • S. Ritter
Conference paper
Part of the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series book series (MMMS)


The structural integrity of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) of light water reactors (LWR) is of utmost importance regarding operation safety and lifetime. The fracture behaviour of low-alloy RPV steels with different DSA (dynamic strain aging) & EAC (environmental assisted cracking) susceptibilities and microstructures (base metal, simulated weld coarse grain heat affected zone) in simulated LWR environments was evaluated by elastic plastic fracture mechanics (EPFM) tests with different strain rates and by metallo- and fractographic post-test observations. These tests revealed some evidences of high-temperature water and hydrogen effects on the fracture behaviour and potential synergies with DSA and EAC.


Low alloy steel Hydrogen embrittlement Dynamic strain aging Environmental assisted cracking Fracture resistance reduction 



Funding for the SAFE-II project from the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would like to express their gratitude for the experimental contributions and helpful suggestions from H. Kottmann, D. Stammbach, B. Baumgartner, R. Schwenold, J. Bai and E. Mueller from Paul Scherrer Institute.


  1. 1.
    N. Soneda, Irradiation Embrittlement of Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) in Nulcear Power Plants, Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy: Number 26 (Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, UK, 2015)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    H.P. Seifert, J. Hickling, D. Lister, Corrosion and environmentally-assisted cracking of carbon and low-alloy steels, in Comprehensive Nuclear Materials, ed. by R.J.M. Konings (Elsevier, Oxford, UK, 2012), pp. 105–142, ISBN: 978-0-08-056033-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. Hickling, Strain-induced corrosion cracking of low-alloy steels in LWR systems—case histories and identification of conditions leading to susceptibility. Nucl. Eng. Des. 91, 305–330 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    H. Seifert, Strain-induced corrosion cracking behaviour of low-alloy steels under boiling water reactor conditions. J. Nucl. Mater. 378, 312–326 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    P.L. Andresen, Emerging issues and fundamental processes in environmental cracking in hot water. Corrosion 64, 439–464 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    H. Hänninen, H.P. Seifert, Y. Yagodzinsky, U. Ehrnstén, O. Tarasenko, P. Aaltonen, Effects of dynamic strain ageing on environment-assisted cracking of low alloy pressure vessel and piping steels, in 10th International Conference on Environmental Degradation of Materials in Nuclear Power Systems—Water Reactors, NACE/TMS/ANS, (CD-ROM, Paper No. 47), 6–10 Aug, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA (2001)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J.H. Yoon et al., Effects of loading rate and temperature on J–R fracture resistance of an SA516-Gr. 70 steel for nuclear piping. Int. J. Press. Vessels Pip. 76, 663–670 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    S. Roychowdhury et al., Effect of high-temperature water and hydrogen on the fracture behavior of a low-alloy reactor pressure vessel steel. J. Nucl. Mater. 478, 343–364 (2016). doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    P.D.R. Schellenberger, JR curves of the low alloy steel 20 MnMoNi 5 5 with two different sulphur contents in oxygen-containing high temperature water at 240 °C. Nucl. Eng. Des. 151, 449–461 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    G.S. Rao et al., Effect of hydrogen on tensile behavior of low alloy steel in the regime of dynamic strain ageing. Procedia Struct. Integr. 2, 3399–3406 (2016). doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    ASTM E-1820-13, Standard Test Method for Measurement of Fracture Toughness (Annual Book of Standards, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, 2013)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Z. Que, H.P. Seifert, P. Spätig, S. Ritter, G.S. Rao, High-temperature water effects on the fracture behaviour of low-alloy RPV steels, in EUROCORR, EFC, Sept 11–15, Montpellier, France CD-ROM/USB, Paper No 52357 (2016)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    P.C. Paris, A method of application of elastic-plastic fracture mechanics to nuclear vessel analysis, in Elastic-Plastic Fracture: Second Symposium, Volume II—Fracture Resistance Curves and Engineering Applications, ASTM STP 803, pp. II-5–II-40 (1983)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    P.C. Paris, Initial experimental investigation of tearing instability theory. Elastic-Plastic Fracture, ASTM STP 668, 251–265 (1979)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    H.A. Ernst, Some salient features of the tearing instability theory, in Elastic-Plastic Fracture: Second Symposium, Volume II—Fracture Resistance Curves and Engineering Applications, ASTM STP 803, pp. II-133–II-155 (1983)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    H.P. Seifert, S. Ritter, Corrosion fatigue crack growth behaviour of low-alloy reactor pressure vessel steels under boiling water reactor conditions. Corros. Sci. 50, 1884–1899 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    H.P. Seifert, S. Ritter, Stress corrosion cracking of low-alloy reactor pressure vessel steels under boiling water reactor conditions. J. Nucl. Mater. 372(1), 114–131 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. Que
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. P. Seifert
    • 1
  • P. Spätig
    • 1
  • G. S. Rao
    • 1
  • S. Ritter
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Nuclear MaterialsPaul Scherrer InstitutVilligen PSISwitzerland

Personalised recommendations