Increasing concern for crack assessment in the pipeline industry motivates analysis to quantify the crack driving force, with the linear-elastic fracture mechanics stress intensity factor, denoted K, viable for many vintage pipeline applications. This paper presents a brief review of numerical methods developed for calculating K via the finite element analysis (FEA) as a background to identify the “best” approaches for such purposes. The existing methods can be categorized into three groups: the displacement-based methods, the stress-based methods, and the energy-based methods. The first group involves the displacement extrapolation method, the quarter-point displacement method, and the displacement correction method. The second group involves the stress extrapolation method and the force method. The third group includes the J-integral method, the stiffness derivative method, the virtual crack extension method, the virtual crack closure technique (VCCT) and ABAQUS direct K output method. Based on the review, four methods were selected and evaluated for a central-cracked plate (CCP) specimen based on the FEA calculations via ABAQUS. The “best” methods are then applied in an analysis of K for through-wall cracks in a line pipe — important reference geometry for leak-versus-rupture analysis.

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