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Ductile Crack Growth in Surface Cracked Pressure Vessels

Osama A. Terfas; Abdusalam A. Alaktiwi

Pressure vessels are usually operating at temperatures where the conditions of linear elastic fracture mechanics are no longer met because massive plasticity precedes crack propagation. In this work the development of a surface crack in a pressure vessel subject to bending and tension under elastic-plastic fracture mechanics conditions was investigated. Finite element analysis was used to evaluate the hydrostatic stress, the J-integral and crack growth for semi-elliptical surface-breaking cracks. The results showed non-uniform stress triaxiality and crack driving force around the crack front at large deformation levels. Different ductile crack extensions were observed which emphasis the dependent of ductile tearing on crack geometry and type of loading. In bending the crack grew only beneath the surface, and growth was suppressed at the deepest segment. This contrasts to tension where the crack breaks through the thickness with uniform growth along the entire crack front except at the free surface. Current investigations showed that the crack growth developed under linear elastic fracture mechanics conditions will no longer be applicable under ductile tearing scenarios.

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