The stiffness of graphite-graphite joints: Ultrasonic investigation and modelling

Robinson, A. M.; Drinkwater, B. W.; Dwyer-Joyce, R. S.
May 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 509 Issue 1, p1293
Academic Journal
Large assemblies of graphite blocks are a feature of many nuclear reactors, and the seismic response of these assemblies are determined by the blocks’ static and dynamic behavior. The load-deflection relationship of these blocks can be influenced by surface roughness effects and is dependent on the nature of the interface between blocks. Ultrasonic reflection coefficient measurements are used to investigate the stiffness distribution of this interface under various loading conditions. A quasi-static model of the interface was adopted, allowing the interfacial stiffness to be measured as a function of applied load, sound frequency, surface roughness and graphite composition, for which issues of high attenuation and granular scattering were addressed and overcome. This method was also used to study the distribution of the load across large face areas. Cyclical loading of the graphite-graphite interface has also been carried out—giving information on the elastic/plastic nature of the contact and an insight into molecular effects at the interface. Numerical contact modeling of the surfaces, using real graphite profiles has also been carried out to predict the interfacial stiffness. Reasonable qualitative agreement with experimental results was obtained, but it is believed that it is the two-phase nature of the graphite-graphite composites under investigation that prevents better quantitative agreement from this model, and hence means of better accounting for this structure in modeling were considered. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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