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Obtaining a 3-D Topography Map of the Conjugate Fracture Surfaces The topography of fracture surfaces was characterized by SRI's FRASTAscope shown in Figure 13. The FRASTAscope consists of a confocal-optics scanning laser microscope (COSLM), with computer-controlled precision x-y-θ stages, a computer-controlled precision zstage, and computer software that controls the system and creates the digital files. 5 µm with a 50 X objective lens). For most of the fracture surface studies, one observation area of the COSLM is not enough.

The applied load is redistributed to sound material in front of the crack tip, which continues to deform inelastically until it too fractures. FRASTA has been used to determine crack initiation times and crack growth rates from post-test examination of AISI Type 304 stainless steel constant extension rate test (CERT) specimen fracture surfaces [60]. Furthermore, FRASTA made it possible to clearly identify the difference in microfracture mechanism between two specimens tested in different environments (Figure 10), an unexpected difference that could not be determined simply by microscopic examination of fracture surface features.

The position of the Surface B with respect to the Surface A was then changed so that the initial overlap of conjugate surfaces occurred over the entire area. From this state, Surface B was lifted incrementally against Surface A. After each incremental separation, the entire area was scanned to determine if a gap between two surfaces had occurred. If a gap(s) between the conjugate surfaces was detected, their positions were plotted in the observation area window. This plot is called Fracture Area Projection Plot (FAPP).

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Chernobyl Reactor Accident - Source Term (csni-r1995-24)


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