Outline of nuclear piping research conducted in Italy

Pietro Paolo Milella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Following an early phase of limited activity at the University of Pisa on small stainless steel pipes containing axial cracks, in 1981 ENEA, the Italian Committee for Research and Development of Nuclear Energy and Alternative Energies, has started a massive research campaign on fracture of carbon and stainless steel piping containing through and part-through cracks loaded either under pressure or in bending. The purpose of the program was to develop a better understanding on pipes fracture behaviour in order to set new design criteria more realistic, yet conservative, than the guillotine break and prepare acceptance criteria for in-service flaws particularly under the growing pressure of IGSCC that has merciless affected worldwide practically any BWR piping system. The analysis of more than 100 tests carried out at CISE research centre, in Milano, on 4 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch and 10 inch pipes has indicated that unstable fracture requires at least 150° through wall crack under ASME maximum design stresses. The leak area, before instability takes place, is always less than 10% of the net cross section area of the pipe. This has led ENEA to consider a 10% break area as a reasonable value to calculate jet forces. Further, it was found that the net section collapse load criterion by far underestimates the actual collapse load and that 360° part-through cracks tend to switch from ductile to brittle failure mode of a pipe loaded in bending. Further work is planned for the next 3 years including high temperature tests, stainless steel weldments and HAZ tests, high compliance tests and eventually burst tests. Besides the ENEA's research program, Ansaldo AMN, the Italian Nuclear Architect Engineer, is developing theoretical studies and codes to treat the problem of pipe fracture. © 1987.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219 - 229
Number of pages11
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1987
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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