The ductile fracture toughness of steel is used to assess the ability of a pipeline to resist long running ductile fractures in a burst event. With the introduction of modern low carbon clean steels with ultra high toughness, conventional measures of ductile fracture toughness (standard Charpy and DWTT energy) are under review, and alternatives are being studied. The crack tip opening angle (CTOA) was investigated to evaluate its appropriateness as a measure of modern pipeline steel ductile fracture toughness. At first, fracture mechanics tests at quasi-static rate were analyzed to examine the constancy of CTOA with crack growth. The results of this initial review are based on four pipeline steels with a range of ductile fracture toughness. The CTOA values are also compared with appropriate parameters from conventional tests to examine potential relationships that may be used to indicate the relative resistance of pipeline steels to ductile fracture propagation. The final objective is to compare CTOA values determined by the simple two specimen method and those developed through a formal fracture mechanics based technique.

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