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Michael Fox, PhD.

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Nuclear Reactor Welding Projects

While working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Dr. Fox managed research on state-of-the-art techniques in welding and stress improvement for stainless steel pipe welds in nuclear plants.

One method, called Last Pass Heat Sink welding, involved the use of a high heat input last welding pass while simultaneously cooling the inside of the pipe.

This procedure produced compressive residual stresses on the inside of the pipe in the weld heat affected zone. Those compressive stresses helped prevent stress corrosion cracking of stainless steel pipe welds in nuclear plants.


Last Pass Heat Sink Welding

Another research project Dr. Fox managed for a time was called Induction Heating Stress Improvement, or IHSI. EPRI funded further research into the refinement of the IHSI method that was originally developed by the Japanese. The goal of IHSI was to improve residual stresses in the weld heat affected zone inside the pipe. However, IHSI could be applied to larger diameter pipes that had already been welded together in nuclear plants.

Essentially, the method consisted of heating the outside of the pipe wall by induction heating while simultaneously cooling the inside of the pipe wall with water. The resulting compressive residual stresses helped prevent stress corrosion cracking of stainless steel pipe welds in nuclear plants.


Induction Heating Stress Improvement

Dr. Fox is a nationally recognized metallurgy expert, corrosion expert and failure analysis expert who has published numerous peer-reviewed, scientific papers in these fields. He worked for years as a bench scientist and a research manager in the fields of corrosion, metallurgy and failure analysis of materials in nuclear reactors.