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Int. J. Pres. Ves.

& Piping 26 (1986) 197-211

A New General Approach for the Fracture of


Pressurized Components with an Oblique Flaw and its
Experimental Verification
Li Shijie a n d H u n g X i a o s h e n g
PWR Research Institute, Department of Applied Mechanics,
Southwest Reactor Engineering Research and Design Centre,
PO Box 291, Chengdu, Sichuan, People's Republic of China
(Received i May 1986; accepted 14 May 1986)
A BSTRA CT
A key element in the safe use offlawed components is that of developing
an accurate method for predicting failure under operational conditions.
In this paper a new general approach to the fracture of pressurized
components with an obliqueflaw is proposed. It can be used for predicting
the failure load under operating conditions of a component containing
surfaee flaws and/or through-wall oblique flaws, the relevant component
being made of ductile structural steel. Experiments on eight pressure
vessel models with an oblique through-wall flaw and four with an oblique
surface flaw have been performed to support this approach.
The approach proposed is in good agreement not only with the results
of the experiments mentioned above but also with tests made at other
research units in China. For the specific case of a flaw located in the
axial direction, it has been supported by many tests in China and other
countries.

INTRODUCTION
In fields such as nuclear power, chemical engineering, boilermaking
and shipbuilding, flaws are often found in pressurized components
during in-service inspection. Thus, a particular question related to the
flaw is whether anything must be done about it immediately or whether
197
Int. J. Pres. Ves. & Piping (26) (1986)-- Elsevier Applied Science Publishers Ltd,
England, 1986. Printed in Great Britain

198

Li Shijie, Hung Xiaosheng

it is possible to wait for an occasion when the impact on plant availability


is minimal, e.g. until the next refuelling outage. In order to solve such
questions, the engineer needs to have at his command some assessment
approaches on the size and shape of flaws to determine whether an
observed flaw will give rise to failure, and the time required for it to
reach the allowable size limit. An attempt is made in this paper to give
the engineer a new approach to the assessment of the failure of flawed
components by a plastic fracture mechanism under normal operating
conditions.
In the course of the last 20 years, very considerable interest has
developed in China and other countries in research into the failure of
pressurized components with longitudinal and/or circumferential flaws.
A vast amount of work concerned with such flaws has been done. 1-5
But flaws do not always lie exactly in the longitudinal or in the
circumferential direction of pressurized components. Many have been
found in practice to incline to those axes. To make more simple the
application in practice, a relatively straightforward and simple analysis
coupled with tests is available to establish the failure law of pressurized
components with an oblique flaw. On this basis, we have carried out a
considerable variety of theoretical explorations, so that in the end we
acquired a new general approach.
In order to verify it, two series of experiments on pressure vessel
models with an oblique flaw have been completed and in addition use
has been made of test data from the General Machinery Institute and
Taiyuan Heavy Machinery Institute in China. 6

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EXPERIMENTS


From the viewpoint of engineering mechanics, the same method can be
used to analyze the stress in both a cylindrical pressure vessel and a
pipe. Because of this, we chose two materials in the form of tubes to be
available for our test. The programme contained 12 pressure vessel
models in two series, each model approximately 700 mm long. Seven of
these tubes were made of ICrl8Ni9Ti stainless steel and five of
SUS321TP. The former were divided into two types: five models with
an oblique through-wall flaw and the other two with an oblique surface
flaw. The five SUS321TP models were also divided into two types: three
with an oblique through-wall flaw and two with an oblique surface flaw

199

Fracture of pressurized components with oblique flaw


TABLE 1

Material Properties and Flaw Types


Material

Yield Ultimate
strength strength
(MPa) (MPa)

1Crl8Ni9Ti

224.3

658.2

SUS321TP

207.7

618.6

Oblique flaw type

No. of
models

Through-wall
Surface
Through-wall
Surface

5
2
3
2

(see T a b l e 1). All the flaws were l o c a t e d at the m i d - l e n g t h p o s i t i o n o f


the m o d e l . T h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c d i m e n s i o n s o f the 12 m o d e l s a n d their
flaws are listed in T a b l e 2.
In r e l a t i o n to the p r e p a r a t i o n p r o c e s s o f the o b l i q u e flaw in e a c h o f
the p r e s s u r e vessel m o d e l s , the m a i n length o f o b l i q u e t h r o u g h - w a l l flaw
w a s milled with a m i l l - c u t t e r 0-3 m m thick a n d 4 0 m m in d i a m e t e r ; in
a d d i t i o n , b o t h c r a c k - t i p s ( a p p r o x i m a t e l y 2 m m long) were p r e p a r e d
using a 0.1 m m thick steel-saw; the s u r f a c e flaws were all p r e p a r e d b y
milling with the s a m e m i l l - c u t t e r as m e n t i o n e d a b o v e .
TABLE 2

Comparison of Predicted and Experimentally Determined Circumferential Stress cr0~for


Pressure Vessel Models with an Oblique Flaw
(headings explained under equations (1) and (3))
Test on model i
(i= 1. . . . . 12)

[~
(deg)

ti
(mm)

Ri
(ram)

S
(mm 2)

exp
Croi
(MPa)

cal
~ro~
(MPa)

cs8-01
cs8~)2
cs8-O3
cs8~)4
cs8~)5
cs8q)6
cs8~)7
cs8~)8
cs8~9 ~
cs8-10 ~
cs8-11 a
cs8-12"

15'00
47-00
0"00
42"00
62.00
42"50
51.00
30"00
30.00
47.50
50"00
41'00

6"35
6" 10
6"60
6"25
6.20
7"60
7.50
8"15
6.50
6"00
7"60
7"85

36"83
36.95
36'70
36.88
36"90
75.70
75.75
75.18
36.75
37.00
75.45
75.33

209.3
233. I
224"4
404.0
342"5
561 "7
676.4
838.0
162.0
126.6
441-7
399.6

312.8
356'4
261 "7
231.4
315'2
273.5
262.5
171.9
443.6
538.2
350.5
320.0

283.3
383"7
261-1
235'3
357" 1
288.6
268.0
188.0
415.7
581.7
389"5
381'0

a Oblique surface-flawed models.

200

Li Shijie, Hung Xiaosheng

In order to prepare the sharpness of the flaw tips, both for the
through-wall flaw and at the front for the surface flaw, so that they
were more similar to the practical cases produced in components under
operational conditions, models 04, 05, 11 and 12 were not subjected to
low-cycle fatigue cycles until the onset of their initial flaws.
A leak-proof device made of 0"2mm thick stainless steel plate and
3 mm thick rubber was used to cover the internal surface of the model
at the position of the through-wall flaw, so as to prevent leakage of the
liquid pressurization medium from the model with an oblique throughwall flaw under experimental conditions.
The experiments on all the pressure vessel models were carried out
with the High Pressure Cycle-Fatigue Device, shown in Fig. 1. The
device did not pump machine oil into those filled with water until failure.
One of the models after test is shown in Fig. 2.
After the completion of the bursting experiment on all models, the
tested objects were photographed, and the deformations of the models

Fig. 1. HighPressure Cycle-FatigueDevice.

Fig. 2. Fracturearea of model.

Fracture of pressurized components with obliqueflaw

201

TABLE 3

Measurements of Surface Dimensions of an


Oblique Flaw

((mm)

fl(O (ram)

f2(~) (mm)

13.80
14.30
14-80
15-30
15.80
16.34
21.00
26.00
31.00
36.00
41.00
46-00
49.38
50.13
50.33
50.53
50.72

14.34
14.84
15.16
15.45
15.77
15.98
17.41
17.84
18.18
18.48
18.75
18.86
18.68
18.59
18.55
18.45
18.57

14.34
13.27
12.05
10.43
9.73
9.12
10.53
11.07
11-48
! 1.74
11.99
12.09
12.27
12.34
16.87
17.67
18-37

and the sizes of the fractured areas were measured. The fracture area
was machined out from the failure region at which the artificial flaw
was located, and the surface dimensions of the flaw were measured with
a tooling microscope; an example of such measured results is shown in
Table 3. Finally, the flaw was studied under the Scanning Electron
Microscope.
The results o f fractography showed that fracture consisted mainly of
the following three parts (see Fig. 3): (a) fatigue-streak, (b) a dimple
structure, and (c) a quasi-cleavage structure. The fatigue-streak proves
that the fatigue parts of both tips for oblique through-wall flaws and
b

Fig. 3.

Enlargements from fracture surface (original magnification x 4000): (a) fatiguestreak; (b) dimple structure; (c) quasi-cleavage structure.

202

Li Shijie, Hung Xiaosheng

of the flaw fronts for oblique surface flaws were produced before the
bursting of the model. The dimple structure shows that stable crack
growth set in more or less before failure. Lastly, the quasi-cleavage
structure is typical of unstable crack growth.
In order to obtain the engineering strength indices of the materials
in the form of tubes, a standard tension specimen with cross-section in
the form of a circular arc was prepared according to the relevant Chinese
standard, as Fig. 4 shows. Six specimen pieces of 1Crl8Ni9Ti and six

Fig. 4.

Standard tension specimen.

of SUS321TP in the form of tubes were prepared and tensioned with


the Type IS-10T test machine under room temperature conditions. The
average values of their engineering strength indices are shown in
Table 1.
NEW G E N E R A L A P P R O A C H
By test observations and metallography of fracture planes, we concluded
that there occurred first a crack initiation, then a slow stable crack
growth and finally a fast unstable crack propagation in cracked
components made of ductile structural steel with work-hardening under
internal pressure load-controlled conditions; and that these conditions
were completely controlled by the overall plastic behaviour in a crack
region. The plastic response of the crack region to applied loads must
be related to the characteristic dimensions of the component, to the
characteristic dimensions of the flaw, and to the material engineering
strength indices. The relation can be shown by an expression which will
predict a limit-load capacity of the cracked component or a limiting
size of the crack that will cause the component to fail. The expression
can be determined if in the plastic limit-load analysis it is assumed that
the average stress in the zone near the flaw will increase to a steady
value when the cracked component fails. This assumption is equivalent
to acknowledging that a critical number of dislocations are emitted into
the structural material in the vicinity of flaw regions during fracture of
the cracked component on the basis of dislocation theory.
After completion of a simplified plastic limit-load analysis, we derived

203

Fracture of pressuriged components with oblique flaw

Fig. 5. Initial-cracked surface.


the following new general approach to predetermine the ultimate failure
loading of an oblique-flawed component.
ai-

[ayj + (auj -- tryj)~(1 + 1.151a2~i/Riti)'47](1 + sin 2 fig)


[1 + 1.636(1 + 7"640cosfli)aEp~/Rgtg] 235

(1)

where ao~ denotes fracture-nominal circumferential stress for component


i, tryi and trui the yield and the ultimate strength for structural material
j, respectively, fli is the angle of an oblique flaw with respect to the axial
direction of component i, R~ and t~ mean the average radius and the
wall thickness of component i, respectively, and ap~ is defined as follows:
ap, = ~

[f,(() - f2(()] d(

(2)

The functions fl(~) and f2(~) express respectively the upper and lower
boundary lines of an initially cracked plane, that is, a cracked plane
before the onset of the stable crack growth under bursting conditions.
These are shown in Fig. 5.
Based on differential-integral calculus, the right-hand side of eqn (2)
can be approximated by the trapezium expression. Hence, it can be
converted as follows:
o)-~k
ap, = S/t, = 2nt, {[f,((o) -f2((o)] + 2[f,(,) -f2((,)]
+ " " + [f,((.- ,) - f 2 ( . - ,)] + [1]((.) -f2((.)]}
where S is initial flaw area.

(3)

Li Sho'ie, Hung Xiaosheng

204

When fli = 0, eqn (1) is simplified to


ayj + (auj - tryj)/(1 + 1.151a2i/Riti) '47
~ri =
[1 + 14"135a2oi/Riti] 235

(4)

When fli = 90, eqn (1) takes its simplest form and can be applied to a
circumferentially cracked component under internal pressure in the
range of values of aZojRit~ from 6 to 16.
If internal pressure P~ and external bending m o m e n t Mx~ are applied
to component i with a circumferential flaw, another equation can give
a satisfactory outcome, as follows:
~(1 + l'636aZoJRit~)235ao~

+ [cos 0 i + sin 0~/(rc - O~)]mxi /

R2iti[rt - 0 i - sin 20 i - (2 sin 2 0)/(re - Oi) ]


= ayj + (truj - Cry~)/(1 + 1.151a2oi/Riti) '47

(5)

where 0~ is the half-angle of a circumferential flaw for the above


component i, in radians.

VERIFICATIONS AND APPLICATIONS


As mentioned above, the results of our experiments on the two series
of oblique-flawed pressure vessel models under internal pressure load
conditions are listed in Table 2. Using the above-measured data, the
surface areas of the initial flaws were calculated by means of eqn (3)
and are also listed in Table 2.
Figures 6 and 7 compare the experimental results with the predictions
of eqns (1) and (3) respectively. The m a x i m u m percentage difference
between a predicted value and its corresponding test value is . - 1 9 %
and most such differences are below +_ 10%. F r o m these results it is
considered that the new general approach is validated, and that it can
be used as a new prediction method to be applied to the assessment of
the limiting sizes for oblique flaws which will cause components to fail
by a ductile fracture mechanism under internal pressure operating
conditions.
We would now like to give several examples to illustrate the application
of this new general approach, as follows:
(1)

In the first example, we take account of the experiments given in


Ref. 6. In this paper, it is reported that a group of 1 8 M n M o N b

205

Fracture of pressurized components with oblique flaw


experiments

,,
....

experiments

a ~ i I Ri t i : 0.501

0.550

1.161

1'619

,,

....

"

1.473

1,193
',

a~i I R i t i =1.095

3.334

2. 373

3' 579

4.314

~.532

60(

500
m
a.

300

301

'

2.373

3.5:,9

4"314
,
0

30

~i

60
(degree)

Comparison between prediction


and test--circumferential stresses for
models 014)5, 09 and 10.

Fig. 6.

90

30

l
60
~i (degree)

I
90

Fig. 7. Comparison of prediction and


test---circumferential stresses for models
06-08, 11 and 12.

alloy steel vessels with slant cracks located at a longitudinal weld


seam have been investigated experimentally. One of the vessels is
shown in Fig. 8. The conditions of their heat treatments are
classified into two classes, i.e. quench-tempered and normalized.
Their chemical composition, the mechanical properties of the
base material and weld seam, and the experimental results for
the slant-cracked model vessels are extracted in Tables 4, 5 and
6 respectively. The circumferential stresses predicted from eqn

u, ~,.~L, v-=,,,= V w e l d i n g

Fig. 8.

Simulated cylinder.

206

Li Sho'ie, Hung Xiaosheng


TABLE 4
Chemical Composition (wt%) of 18MnMoNb Vessels
Investigated in Ref. 6

Material
Weld seam
Base

Si

0.14
0.21

0.28
0

Mn

Mo

Nb

1.40 0.50 0.017 0.014 0.026


1-50 0.51 0.01 0
0.041

TABLE 5
Mechanical Properties of 18MnMoNb Vessels Investigated in Ref. 6

Condition of heat treatment

a yj
(MPa)

~roj
(MPa)

Quench-tempered base material


Quench-tempered electroslag
weld seam
Quench-tempered manual
weld seam
Normalized base material
Normalized electroslag
weld seam

601.5

719.1

640.7

738.7

642.3
449.5

760.0
598.2

428.3

616.2

(1) and found by experiment are compared in Fig. 9. They are


in good agreement.
(2) Equation (4) has been successfully used in such areas as nuclear
engineering, boiler building and others. 7 2o One such example
is given in Fig. 10.
(3) The third example relates to two test results for circumferentially
through-wall flawed pipes which were subjected simultaneously
to internal pressure and external momentum. The relevant results
are extracted from the paper 21 in Tables 7 and 8. The predictions
of eqn (5) are in accord with the experiments within a percentage
deviation range of + 19%.
(4) The fourth example relates to work by Julisch et al. 22 who have
performed experiments on circumferentially cracked pipes of
various materials and dimensions under conditions similar to the
operational conditions in nuclear power plants. Except that
values of a~oi/Rit i for components 1, 2 and 3 were beyond the
applicable range of eqn (5) and another (No. 11) was not

Fracture of pressurized components with oblique flaw

207

600

-~ 4 0 0

&

:E

e&

,-:

200

200

Fig. 9.

400
0'exp (MPa)
ei

600

Comparison between predicted and tested results: l , normalized electroslag

weld seam; Q, Q-T electroslag weld seam; A , normalized base material; /k, Q-T base
material.

800

oo I
b

400,-

0
A,

a
0
A

200

Fig. 10.

~oo

R.W. Derby 7
R.H. Bryan et al. 8
H. L a r s s o n et al. 9
R.J. E i b e r et al. 10

.,oo
o';';"

600
(.Pa)

800

Comparison between predicted aol


ca= and tested aoi.
ex~ 7-1o

Li Shijie, Hung Xiaosheng

208

TABLE 6
Tested and Predicted Results for 18MnMoNb Vessels
Investigated in Ref. 6

Model
no.
C401 a
C402 a
C403 a
C404
C708 a
CM3 b
T508 c
T509 c
T510 c
T512 c
TI01 c
TM3 d
a Flaw
h Flaw
c Flaw
seam.
d Flaw

fli
(deg)

aai
Ri
ti
aex"
a'al
(ram) (rnrn) (mm) (MPa) (MPa)

90.0
75.0
61.7
45.0
0.0
0.0
75-0
60-5
45.0
30.0
0.0
0.0

40.60
31.00
21.80
14.50
9.50
10.00
33.00
33.00
22.60
17.00
13.75
13.50

41.40
41.30
41.50
41.33
41.44
41-34
41.38
41.41
41.32
41.42
41.45
41.34

3.60
3.50
3.43
3,54
3.53
3.62
3.65
3.55
3.48
3.60
3.50
3.52

501.9
468.7
460.3
467.1
435.1
475.9
578.1
494.2
468.1
445.7
456.4
458.4

522.1
424.1
426.5
427.4
336.6
324.6
561.7
455-3
437-4
408.5
339.6
361.6

located at the normalized electroslag weld seam.


located at the normalized base material.
located at the q u e n c h - t e m p e r e d electroslag weld
located at the q u e n c h - t e m p e r e d base material.

TABLE 7
Material Properties a n d External Load for Pipes Investigated in Ref. 21

Tesl

ayj
auj
P
(Nmm -2) (Nmm -2) (Nmm -2)

15
16

310
310

633
633

17'2
7'23

Mxi
(Nmm)
13"8 10 6
9'4 10 6

TABLE 8
Predicted Results for Pipes Investigated in Ref. 21

Test
15
16

Ri
(mm)

li
(ram)

Oi

Pical

MxC~l

(deg)

(Nmm- 2)

(Nmm)

53.4
53.4

8.56
8'56

38"0
67.5

17.20
7-23

15.5 10 6
7-8 10 6

Fracture of pressurized components with oblique flaw

209

accompanied by a full description of its engineering strength


indices, generally speaking, in relation to this whole series of
tests, the predictions of eqn (5) are in good agreement with the
tests.
DISCUSSION
The method proposed in Ref. 6, which is used to calculate the failure
load of pressure vessels with an oblique through-wall flaw, contains the
following formulae:
Pi = (2tiao/Mpi)/(R[(1 + cs2 fli) 2 "t'- (COSfli sin fli)2]1/2)

(6)

a o = %j + ~ a u j - tTyj)tTuj/ay j

(7)

where Mai is the coefficient of bulge effect in the region of an oblique


flaw.
If we compare the present paper's approach with that of Ref. 6, we
at once find that the former has some advantages over the latter. First,
the former can be applied to more materials than the latter because the
latter involves the so-called flow stress aoIn accordance with the idea of flow stress, eqn (7) is usable only for
materials having performance of yield strength-to-ultimate strength
ratio >0-5. For materials such as stainless steel with cryj/aui <0"5, the
method of Ref. 6 could obviously not be used, but the present approach
is still valid. Furthermore, the present approach can predict failure of
components both with oblique through-wall flaws and with oblique
surface flaws, but the method of Ref. 6 is confined to oblique throughwall flaws.
Based on our researches, analyses and experimentation, including
many experiments completed both in China and in other countries up
to now, we have found that the present approach can give good
predictions in accord with experimental results on cracked components
under internal pressure load control conditions in the following ranges
of the parameter a~i/Riti:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)

when
when
when
when
when

fli = 0, O'O06<a~i/Riti<36;
0 < f l i _< 3 0 , 0-06< a~i/Rit i < 26;
30 < fli-< 45, 0-6 < a~i/Rit i < 20;
2
45 < f l i < 9 0 o, 2<a~i/Riti<
16;
fli = 90, 6<-a~i/Riti< 16.

210

Li Shijie, Hung Xiaosheng

CONCLUSIONS
A new general approach has been theoretically derived and its predictions
have been compared with various experiments. The important conclusions emerging from the preceding section are as follows:
(1) The validity of the new general approach has been verified by
the experiments. Its accuracy proved to be very good.
(2) The specific form of this approach, i.e. the use of eqn (4)
for calculating the failure load of a longitudinally cracked
component, has been confirmed by many experiments, including
not only models but also prototypes carried out in China and
other countries.
(3) The application of the approach covers an extensive range of
importance in engineering practice.
(4) Another equation, i.e. eqn (5), has also been supported by some
experiments.
A C K N O W L E D G E M ENTS
The authors wish to thank the Heads of the PWR Research Institute
and its Department of Applied Mechanics for their permission to allow
the publication of the present paper. They also thank Mr Zhang Yong
for typing it.

REFERENCES
1. Ye Gang Da, Assessments of the safety and the life of oxygen or hydrogen
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1975,
2. Sun Xun Fang, Fracture mechanics analysis of cracked pressure vessel,
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4. Hahn, G. T. et al., Criteria for crack extension in cylindrical pressure
vessels, Int. J. Fract. Mech., 5(3) September (1969).
5. Folias, E. S., On the prediction of failure in pressurized vessel, Proc. 1st
Int. Con[i on Pressure Vessel Technology, Delft, The Netherlands, 29
September- 2 October 1969.

Fracture of pressurized components with oblique flaw

211

6. Li Zezhen, Chen Shuyi and Zhou Zegong, Application of the equivalent


displacement of crack tip to pressure vessel with slant crack, Proc. ICF
Int. Symp. on Fracture.Mechanics, Beijing, China, 22-25 November 1983.
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