Analysis of crack propagation in nuclear graphite using three-point bending of sandwiched specimens

Li Shi, Haiyan Li, Zhenmin Zou, Alex S L Fok, Barry J. Marsden, Andrew Hodgkins, Paul M. Mummery, James Marrow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The aim of this paper was to assess the suitability of the sandwiched beam in three-point bending as a technique for determining fracture toughness and R-curve behaviour of nuclear graphite using small beam specimens. Surface displacements of the cracked beam specimen were measured using Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry (ESPI) and Image Correlation in order to accurately monitor crack propagation and frictional contact between the test specimen and the sandwiching beams. The results confirmed that solutions based on the simple beam theory could overestimate the fracture toughness of graphite. Finite element analysis using a Continuum Damage Mechanics failure model indicated that both friction and shape of the notch played an important part in providing resistance to crack growth. Inclusion of these factors and the use of more accurate load vs. crack length curves derived from the FE model would provide a satisfactory measure of fracture toughness in small beam specimens under such a loading configuration. The particular graphite tested, IG-110, showed a decrease in fracture toughness with increasing crack length. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)141-151
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2008


    • Bending
    • Crack
    • Crack propagation
    • Fracture toughness
    • Nuclear reactors (crack propagation anal. of nuclear graphite using three-point bending of sandwiched specimens)
    • nuclear grade graphite bending crack propagation


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