Recent experimental and computational studies have revealed that the CTOA fracture criterion has the potential to assess steady state ductile rupture resistance during large amounts of crack growth. One of the major difficulties currently limiting the more extensive use of CTOA is its practical estimation either on a real structure or in a laboratory scale test. The authors have recently developed a novel test technique for direct measurement of CTOA. It is a single CTOA test (SCT) method using a modified double cantilever beam (DCB) specimen. Photographic and video techniques are used to register the progression of the crack tip in real time on the faces of the DCB. The CTOA profile is estimated from the uniform variations of the slope of a reference fine mesh scored on the surface of the specimen. Its value is representative of the material CTOA. So far the method has been successfully tested on gas pipeline steels of grade API X80 and X100 and 6000 series aluminium alloy. In all tests, it generated large amounts of highly consistent CTOA data, even from a single test specimen. This paper describes recent results from the CTOA testing of X100 steel specimens with different ligament thicknesses in the range of 8 to 12 mm, equivalent to 42 to 63% of the original pipe wall thickness. In total 18 sets of CTOA test data were obtained from opposite sides of fractured specimens. Analysis of these showed that the CTOA values were thickness independent in the examined range. An average CTOA value of 8.5° was found for X100 steel in the steady state crack propagation phase. The development of slant fracture associated with the steady CTOA region was completed after an average crack growth of 1.3–2.7 times the specimen ligament thickness. The fatigue precracking resulted in a 10–23% drop in the initiation load depending on the gauge thickness of the specimen and the initial crack length.

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