About Project FORCE

The UK Government Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has tasked Frazer-Nash and our partner organisations with delivering an Advanced Manufacturing and Materials research and innovation Project.

The project consists of three work packages focussed on developing structural integrity assessment methods with an aim to reduce the blockers for the wide-scale use of power beam welding techniques in the nuclear industry.

Highlights

An insight into our work within Project FORCE to help deliver Advanced Manufacturing and Materials capability throughout the nuclear innovation program

Weld residual stress modeling diagram

Weld Residual Stress Modelling

Characterising EB and LB weldments and developing modelling approach to predict weld residual stresses accurately and efficiently.

Graph that shows probabilistic methods for structural integrity

Probabilistic Methods for
Structural Integrity

Development a probabilistic framework for how the variation in material properties and welding residual stresses can be accounted for in structural integrity assessments.

4 Images showing different fractures in power beam welds

Fracture in Power Beam Welds

Measuring and predicting the fracture behaviour of power beam weldments in the presence of weld residual stresses.

Benefits

Project FORCE is focussed on reducing the blockers for the wide-scale use of power beam welding techniques in the nuclear industry. The adoption of power beam welding by the nuclear industry could significantly cut manufacturing costs, particularly with the move to modularisation where systems are assembled within a factory environment.

Reduce Cost

More robust designs with lower through-life cost

Share Knowledge

Increase in knowledge and experise that can be shared accross industries

Improve Assurance

Development of assessment codes for improved assurance

Collaborate

Consortium linking Academia, Industry, and Government

Application Led

End-user engagement to ensure research relevance

Validate

Validating modelling approaches using industry standard tools and techniques

Helping to remove the blockers
from power beam welding
in nuclear new build

Our Work

Motivation for Project Force

Welding metallic components is a core technology across all nuclear reactor designs. There are a range of welding techniques and each results in complex microstructures in the vicinity of the weld. Understanding the effect of welding parameters on material properties and residual stresses is of paramount importance for structural integrity in the design and operation of nuclear plant.

Image of lit lightbulb on a wood background
Person holding up metal rod under a purple light

Nuclear Innovation Programme

The Nuclear Innovation Programme is an integrated 5 year programme of research and innovation funded by BEIS to further the UK's civil nuclear power objectives as set out in the Nuclear Sector Deal. Advanced Manufacturing and Materials is one of the six key research areas that form the Nuclear Innovation Programme.

Nuclear Structural Materials

The nuclear structural materials R&D theme is focussed on developing materials performance data and fundamental understanding of materials and related manufacturing processes suitable for use in the next generation of high value components for SMRs and Gen IV reactor systems.

Grey and blacked crytal like structures
Diagram of material density in beam weld

Benefits of Power Beam Welding

Electron beam (EB) and laser beam (LB) welding techniques have great potential for future nuclear reactors. Benefits over contemporary techniques include: faster process time, smaller heat affected zone, and potentially favourable welding residual stresses. A greater understanding of power beam techniques is required for their wide-scale adoption, which includes developing validated modelling approaches that allow complex materials effects to be predicted and optimised.

Weld Residual Stress Modelling

Understanding welding residual stresses is important for assuring the structural integrity of nuclear components. Technology improvements will lead to increased confidence in life and potentially reduced inspection requirements. There are a number of failure mechanisms which need to be considered in nuclear components and residual stress can influence the damage development of these mechanisms. An additional benefit of the finite element weld modelling technology is the ability to predict weld distortion, which can improve manufacturability and reduce fit-up stress.

Diagrams of weld residual stress modelling
graph showing probabilistic methods for structural integrity

Probabilistic Methods for Structural Integrity

There is considerable interest in probabilistic assessment methods in the nuclear industry. This field of work is particularly pertinent to SMRs, but is also of interest to designers, manufacturers and operators of other nuclear reactor designs. For designers and manufacturers it allows them to adopt a Design for Reliability approach, which helps them to focus on the key areas of the design. For operators, probabilistic methods provide insight beyond deterministic assessment and can contribute to life extension.

Fracture in Power Beam Welds

Fracture is one of the principal mechanisms considered in structural integrity assessments. As power beam techniques are introduced to the nuclear industry it is important that material properties of welds, such as fracture toughness, can be predicted accurately. The development of advanced modelling approaches with experimental validation will lead to improved structural integrity methods that can account for the effects of residual stress, loss of constraint and environmental effects.

Models showing fractures in power beam welds

News

Frazer Nash secures contract to support the government s-nuclear research and development programme
Systems and engineering technology consultancy, Frazer-Nash, has been selected to deliver a major contract in support of the government's nuclear research and development (R&D) programme. Project FORCE will deliver R&D to support the development of the UK's capability in nuclear materials, advanced manufacturing and modular build for the reactors of the future.. Find out more
Collaboration and Connection; the focus of the South West Nuclear Conference
The event, which will take place in Bristol, will see a keynote speech by Lord Hutton of the Nuclear Industry Association, as well as talks on the UK nuclear industry, the potential impact of Brexit on the sector, and presentations on the Hinkley Point C programme.. Find out more
Back to top