In the early 2000s, ASME adopted Code Cases N-629 and N-631 [1–2], both of which permit the use of the Master Curve reference temperature (To) to define an reference temperature RTTo, as follows (in SI units, as are used throughout the paper):
The Code Cases state that “this reference temperature … may be used as an alternative to [the] indexing reference temperature RTNDTfor the KIcand KIatoughness curves, as applicable, in Appendix A and Appendix G [of Section XI of the ASME Code].” KIa is now only used in Appendix A. The functional form of the ASME KIc and KIa curves dictate that the temperature separation between them remains constant irrespective of the degree of neutron radiation embrittlement, as quantified by ΔRTNDT or ΔRTTo. However, data collected from the literature and new data reported by Hein et al. show that radiation embrittlement brings the KIc and KIa curves closer together as embrittlement increases. As a result, current Code guidance will not produce a bounding KIa curve in all situations when RTTo is used as an reference temperature. To reconcile this issue, this paper summarizes available data and, on that basis, concludes that use of the following reference temperature will ensure that the ASME KIa curve bounds currently available KIa data:
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