Analysis and application of prestressed concrete reactor vessels for LMFBR containment

A. H. Marchertas*, S. H. Fistedis, Z. P. Bažant, T. B. Belytschko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


An analytical model of a prestressed concrete reactor vessel (PCRV) for LMFBR and the associated finite element computer code, involving an explicit time integration procedure, is described. The model is axisymmetric and includes simulations of the tensile cracking of concrete, the reinforcement, and a prestressing capability. The tensile cracking of concrete and the steel reinforcement are both modeled as continuously distributed within the finite element. The stresses in the reinforcement and concrete are computed separately and combined to give an overall stress state of the composite material. The reinformcement is assumed to be elastic, perfectly-plastic; the concrete is taken to be elastic, with tensile and compressive stress limits. Cracking of concrete is based on the criterion of maximum principal stress; a crack is assumed to form normal to the direction of the maximum principal stress. Attention is also given to the fact that cracks do not form instantaneously, but develop gradually. Thus, after crack initiation the normal stress is reduced to zero gradually as a function of time. Residual shear resistance of cracks due to aggregate interlock is also taken into account. An existing crack is permitted to close. Prestressing of the PCRV is modeled by special structural members which represent an averaged prestressing layer equivalent to an axisymmetric shell. The internal prestressing members are superimposed over the reinforced concrete body of the PCRV; they are permitted to stretch and slide in a predetermined path, simulating the actual tendons. The validity of the code is examined by comparison with experimental data. Both static and dynamic data are compared with code predictions, and the agreement is satisfactory. A preliminary design has been developed for both pool and loop-type PCRVs. The code was applied to the analysis of these designs. This analysis reveals that the critical locations in such a design would be the head cover and the junction between the cover and the vessel wall and indicates the pattern of crack development. The results show that the development of a design adequate for current HCDA loads is quite feasible for pool-type or loop-type PCRVs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-173
Number of pages19
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanical Engineering


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