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Understanding Elastomer Materials in Use in the Nuclear Industry and their Potential Failure Mechanisms

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    This seminar provides an introduction to the typical elastomer materials and components used in nuclear power plants, their applications, limitations, failure mechanisms, selection, specifications, and procurement.  The term elastomer material covers numerous natural and synthetic compounds consisting of millions of repeated linked units, each a relatively light and simple molecule.  These materials are used as seals, gaskets, diaphragms, insulation, vibration mounts, adhesives and in many other applications as part of different equipment within the nuclear industry. This course deals with the practical application of these polymer materials and components in all applications, with emphasis on their application in Environmental Qualification programs which use either the Canadian or the United States standards, CSA N290.13.

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    Course Outline

    Module 1 - Related Terminology

    • The terminology in use in the above standards for the nuclear industry is reviewed and a definition sheet is made available as part of the course literature.

    Module 2 - Licensing Prospective

    • The distinction is drawn between the license commitment for equipment identified as requiring Environmental Qualification and other Safety Related equipment.

    Module 3 - Review of Typical Elastomer Materials in Common Use at a Nuclear Power Plant

    • Application
    • Limitation
    • Typical Failure Mechanisms

    Module 4 - Structure of Elastomer Material

    • Material formulation and processing changes
    • Activation Energy
    • Fluid compatibility

    Module 5 - Significant Aging Mechanisms

    • Thermal aging model – Arrhenius
    • Effects of Radiation
    • Oxidation effects
    • Effects of temperature
    • Synergistic effects

    Module 6 - Selection, Specification and Procurement

    • Identification of application and service conditions
    • Review of elastomer options and consultation with elastomer experts
    • Selection of elastomers based on technical acceptability, availability, and life cycle costs
    • Technical specification content
    • Procurement requirements to ensure supply of elastomers per the technical specification

    Module 7 – Hands-On Review of New and Aged Elastomer Material

    • Trainees are presented with a number of samples of both new and aged material to gain a visual, and tactile observation for the changes that take place as a result of thermal and radiation aging

    A Tour of the Kinectrics Laboratories, with Emphasis On:

    • The thermal aging and LOCA testing facilities
    • Material analysis

    Module 8 - Normal and Post-Accident Service Conditions

    • Impact on the Performance of Elastomer Material
    • Maintenance intervals

    Module 9 - Identification of Material Failure Parameters and Limits of Serviceability as Applied to an Environmental Qualification Program

    • Typical material failure parameters are considered against different types of applications
    • Calculating remaining Equipment Life following a harsh environment incident

    A multiple Choice Checkout​

    Who Should Attend

    ​The audience for this course includes:

    • Component and Equipment Engineers
    • Design, EQ Design and Procurement Engineers
    • EQ maintenance people

    Key Benefits

    ​Gain an understanding of:

    • Materials used in EQ applications
    • EQ material characteristics of significance in EQ applications
    • How the limits of EQ material service ability are determined
    • Stress and failure modes of EQ materials
    • Effects of service conditions on material qualified life
    • Tour of the Kinectrics material  and EQ test labs


    • David Rouison

      David Rouison Ph.D., P. Eng. is a highly qualified senior chemical engineer with extensive experience in failure analysis, materials testing and project management.


    Contact Training

    Training Locations

    • Head Office

      800 Kipling Ave., Unit 2
      Toronto, Ontario, M8Z 5G5




    • Pickering

      940 Brock Road, Unit 11
      Pickering, Ontario, L1W 2A1




    • Cincinnati

      7251 E. Kemper Road,
      Cincinnati, Ohio, 45249