Relationship between the natural frequencies and fatigue life of NGB–18 graphite
Markgraaff, Renier Francois
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NBG–18 graphite is developed by SGL Carbon for the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Company (PBMR), and is used as the preferred material for the internal graphite core structures of a high–temperature gas–cooled nuclear reactor (HTR). The NBG–18 graphite is manufactured using pitch coke, and is vibrationally molded. To assess the structural behaviour of graphite many destructive techniques have been performed in the past. Though the destructive techniques are easy and in some cases relative inexpensive to perform, these methods lead to waste material and require cumbersome time consuming sample preparations. To overcome this problem numerous non–destructive testing techniques are available such as sonic resonance, resonant inspection, ultrasonic testing, low and multifrequency Eddy current analysis, acoustic emission and impulse excitation techniques. The Hammer Impulse Excitation technique was used as a method in predicting the fatigue life of NBG–18 graphite by focussing on the application of modal frequency analysis of determined natural frequencies. Moreover, the typical fatigue characteristics of NBG–18 graphite were determined across a comprehensive set of load ranges. In order to be able to correlate modal frequency parameters with fatigue life, suitable uniaxial fatigue test specimen geometry needed to be obtained. The uniaxial fatigue test specimens were manufactured from two NBG–18 graphite sample blocks. The relationship between natural frequencies of uniaxial test specimens, fatigue life, sample positioning and sample orientation was investigated for different principle stress ratios. Load ratios R = –oo and R = +2 tested proved to show the highest r–values for the Pearson correlation coefficients investigated. However, there was no significant trend found between the natural frequency and the fatigue life.
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