In assessing the integrity of structures, complex multiple flaws located in close proximity to each other are generally characterised as one, larger, single flaw. Guidance for the characterisation of multiple flaws is provided in procedures such as R6 and BS 7910, which are routinely used in the UK and elsewhere in the structural integrity assessment of structures and components. For this approach to be valid, the characterisation process must be conservative. That is to say, the probability of failure must be higher for the characterised flaw than for the system of multiple flaws. However, previous studies showed that the current characterisation rules may be non-conservative under some circumstances, in particular under cleavage fracture conditions. A combined experimental and analytical programme of work has been undertaken within the UK in order to further investigate this potential non-conservatism for situations where the possibility of cleavage failure may have to be taken into account when assessing structures or components containing multiple flaws. Details of early stages of the analytical programme were reported at the 2006 and 2007 ASME PVP Conferences and comprised a number of finite element analyses to evaluate cleavage failure probability, via a Master Curve-based approach, for interacting twin flaws and the corresponding characterised single flaw, under applied tensile and bending loads, at low temperatures. These analyses considered surface-breaking semi-elliptical flaws all having the same depth, but with four different aspect ratios. For each aspect ratio the separation of the twin flaws was varied. It was found that non-conservatism of the characterisation rules was indicated for flaws of high depth to length aspect ratio (a/c) in contact. This paper describes further work that has been undertaken to extend the results previously reported. The further work described has been centred on: • for the most onerous aspect ratio (a/c = 1.0) extending the experimental results to higher temperatures in the cleavage transition regime. • performing finite element analyses to complement these experiments. • revisiting the methods for calculation of cleavage failure probability to obtain improved agreement with the experimental results. • examining the rules governing the characterisation process, to determine if modification is necessary.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.