Spherical Steel Containments: Collapse Modelling Following the 1987 German Research Program

José A. Santelli, Nicolás E. Catalá, Fernando G. Flores


In this work, the 1987 physical tests program to research for plastic collapse estimation of the wall on nuclear spherical steel containments, were correlated using several up-to-date finite element formulations (3D and solid-shell). This way, the collapse loads due to plastic instability of spherical steel containments were obtained by FEM modelling. Also, the analytical collapse load for the spherical containment, as stated in ASME BPVC Section III Division I Appendix II, was studied. The findings were that the correlation between the physical tests and the FEM models strongly depends on the hardening law selected for the constitutive model. It was also found that, with the material model parameters properly adjusted, the plastic collapse of the containment can be modelled with acceptable precision, trough the measurement of thickness reduction. Finally, it was found that the collapse loads specified in ASME are more conservative than the ones found in this work.

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