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Title: Aging Behavior of the EPDM O-Rings in the H1616 Shipping Package

The H1616 shipping package is used within the DOE complex for shipping tritium reservoirs. The annual recertification frequency can create logistical difficulties with other constraints on the timing of shipments; thus, a longer re-certification period is desirable. The ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) O-rings used in the H1616 shipping package are being aged and tested at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) to provide a technical basis for extending the annual maintenance of the H1616 shipping package. H1616 EPDM O-rings are being aged at elevated temperature, and tested for degradation in mechanical properties, compression stress relaxation (CSR) behavior, and leak performance. Mechanical properties of aged O-rings show significant degradation can occur, but an inert atmosphere (argon backfill) greatly reduces the rate of degradation. The CSR behavior of O-rings was evaluated in air at 79 to 177 °C. These collective data were used to develop a predictive model for extrapolation of CSR behavior to relevant service temperatures (<67 °C). O-rings were also aged in H1616 Containment Vessels (CV) in an inert atmosphere at 71 to 149 °C. The vessels are helium leak tested periodically to determine if they continue to remain leak-tight. The vessel tests provide a solid demonstration that themore » H1616 O-rings will remain leak-tight at temperatures up to 113 °C for up to approximately 2.3 years. Significantly longer periods of leak-tight service are expected at the lower temperatures actually experienced in service. The predictive model developed from the CSR data conservatively indicates a service life of ~5 years at 67 °C. Although the relationship between CSR behavior and leak-tight performance has not been established for this design, the CSR predictions for this O-ring are conservative relative to leak-tight performance. Based on the collective data developed to date, SRNL has recommended that the maintenance interval for the H1616 package be extended from 1 year to 2 years. Future recommendations in support of even longer maintenance intervals are expected, as additional aging data become available.« less
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Conference: 56th INMM Annual Meeting
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United States