Structural Mechanics in Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering, Second Cycle
1. in 2. year
slovenian, english
Course director:
Hours per week – 1. semester:

Enrolment into the program. Knowledge of subjects of the Reactor Engineering & Energy Technology course.
Positive result from colloquia or written exam is necessary to enter the oral exam.

Content (Syllabus outline)

Design of (steel) pressure vessels and pipelines:
Classification according to safety categories
Loads and load cases
Allowable loads
Analysis of stresses and load carrying capabilities in the elastic and plastic region
Numerical modelling

Safe life and aging:
Fatigue (aging due to cyclic loading)
Aging effects of irradiation
Aging effects of aggressive environment

Probabilistic approaches and reliability:
Probability of failure
Methods estimating the probability of failure
Sensitivity of probability of failure to variability in the input data


Robert Chuse, Bruce E. Carson, sr., Pressure Vessels, 7th ed., McGraw-Hill, 1993.
Paul R. Smith, Piping and Pipe Support Systems, McGraw-Hill, 1987.
Vikram N. Shah, Phillip E. MacDonald, Aging and Life Extension of Major Light Water Reactor Components, Elsevier 1993.
H.O.Madsen, S.Krenk, N.C.Lind, Methods of Structural Safety, Prentice-Hall 1986.

Objectives and competences

Understanding the basics of structural mechanics as used in design of components that are important for safety of nuclear power plants. The emphasis is on pressure vessels and pipelines.
Through an example the student also meets with the design rules and modern numerical tools for analysing stress-strain state in the components.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
To know basic standard of design and basic principles of numerical tools used for analysis.
To understand basics of mechanics of structures and processes that limit the safe life of components.

The acquired knowledge allows independent design of simple pressure vessels or pipelines.

Role of aging mechanisms in decision making about repair and replacement of components.
Opportunities for further development of numerical tools.

Transferable skills:
Skills to successfully find and use domestic or foreign literature and other sources, to successfully collect and interpret data, use numerical tools and to master written as well as oral reporting.
Acquired knowledge is related to subjects of heat transfer, fracture mechanics, safety and reliability of nuclear installations.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, seminars, homework, consultations. Some content will be given in the form of e-teaching, the use of internet and with active participation in scientific research projects.


Written exam
Oral exam
grading: 5 (fail), 6-10 (pass) (according to the Statute of UL)

Lecturer's references
  1. KOVAČ, Marko, CIZELJ, Leon. Modeling elasto-plastic behavior of polycrystalline grain structure of steels at mesoscopic level. Nucl. Eng. Des.. [Print ed.], 2005, vol. 235, str. 1939-1950.
  2. CIZELJ, Leon, KONČAR, Boštjan, LESKOVAR, Matjaž. Vulnerability of a partially flooded PWR reactor cavity to a steam explosion. Nucl. Eng. Des.. [Print ed.], 2006, vol. 236, no. 10, str. 1617-1627.
  3. SIMONOVSKI, Igor, NILSSON, Karl-Fredrik, CIZELJ, Leon. The influence of crystallographic orientation on crack tip displacements of microstructurally small, kinked crack crossing the grain boundary. Comput. mater. sci.. [Print ed.], 2007, vol. 39, no. 4, str. 817-828.