Determination of Optimum LASER Welding Parameters and the Development of a LASER Welding Technique to Enhance the Lateral Impact Strength of a Spacer Grid Assembly for a PWR Fuel Assembly
A spacer grid assembly, which is an interconnected array of slotted grid straps welded at the intersections to form an egg crate structure, is one of the core structural components of the nuclear fuel assemblies of a Pressurized light Water Reactor (PWR). The spacer grid assembly is structurally required to have enough buckling strength under lateral loads so that the nuclear fuel rods are maintained in a coolable geometry, and that control rods are able to be inserted. The ability of a spacer grid assembly to resist lateral loads is usually characterized in terms of its dynamic and static crush strengths. Since the crush strengths of a spacer grid assembly are known to depend on the weld qualities at the intersections of the slotted grid straps, high-tech welding methods, such as a TIG welding, LASER beam welding or Electron beam welding method, have been used recently in the nuclear fuel manufacturing fields. In this study, to meet the above requirements, two kinds of researches were carried out. First, by adjusting the LASER beam welding parameters, an optimum welding combination of the LASER beam welding parameters was obtained for welding a spacer grid assembly. Second, a new LASER beam welding technique was proposed to obtain a longer weld line and a smaller weld bead size by tilting the LASER beam. The buckling strength of the spacer grid welded by the new LASER beam welding technique was enhanced by up to 30 % when compared to that by the conventional LASER beam welding method.
Changhee Lee, Jong-Bong Lee, Dong-Hwan Park and Suck-Joo Na
K. N. Song and S. S. Kim, "Determination of Optimum LASER Welding Parameters and the Development of a LASER Welding Technique to Enhance the Lateral Impact Strength of a Spacer Grid Assembly for a PWR Fuel Assembly", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 580-582, pp. 147-150, 2008