The fracture toughness of the fine-grained nuclear graphite SNG742 has been investigated by observation of stable crack propagation in double cleavage drilled compression specimens. The three-dimensional displacement fields were obtained by digital volume correlation (DVC) of in situ laboratory X-ray computed tomographs. The crack tip location and crack opening displacements were determined using an image edge detection algorithm based on the wavelet modulus maxima. The Young modulus was estimated by fitting a finite element model to DVC displacement field data measured before crack initiation. Using the 3D crack geometry and the surrounding full-field 3D displacement fields as boundary conditions, the elastic strain energy release rate J and the three-dimensional stress intensity factors KI to KIII were then evaluated via the contour integral method. Constant mode I critical stress intensity factor was obtained along the curved crack fronts, with negligible shearing modes. This method allows evaluation of the fracture toughness without prior knowledge of elastic properties, and has potential applications to assess the effects of high temperature, oxidation and irradiation in small specimens of nuclear graphite.
- Digital volume correlation
- Double cleavage drilled compression
- Fracture toughness
- Strain energy release rate