The bulk of the UK’s nuclear power reactors, which currently account for approximately 19.7% of the UK’s energy needs, are due for decommissioning in the next decade or so. With the proposed new nuclear build to replace the ageing fleet, the UK’s market for mechanical couplers is fast growing.
Due to this increasing demand, there has been a focus on the performance of mechanical couplers and, as a result, new test methods and performance criteria are being introduced.
R-Tech Materials Technical Manager Dr Michael Moore has recently completed an Engineering Doctorate in conjunction with Swansea University for the purpose of assessing and developing new test methods for mechanical couplers. The methods were used to:
- assess new performance criteria being proposed for mechanical couplers;
- assess new testing methods being proposed for mechanical couplers;
- assess the performance of current couplers against the new performance requirements;
- provide test results to inform the development of standards within the UK and internationally;
- validate the performance criteria being specified for tests on couplers with structural performance in concrete.
This successful project focussed on test methods used for measuring permanent slip, high cycle fatigue (HCF) and low cycle fatigue (LCF) and has expanded R-Tech’s expertise in this area in recent years. R-Tech Materials are now not just one of the world’s leading laboratories for the testing of reinforcing steel and other associated products, but also now for the testing of mechanical couplers.