In the context of the formulation of a leak-before-break case for a component in a pressurized system, this paper is concerned with the quantification of the crack opening area associated with a two-dimensional crack that is subjected to tensile stresses. We present a simple method, based on the strip yield representation of plastic deformation, for calculating the area. The method is validated against the known result for the ease of an isolated crack in a uniformly stressed infinite solid. It is then used for a general stress distribution, as might arise from a combination of pressure induced and weld residual tensile stresses, with the considerations being focussed on the case where plastic deformation is limited, as is usually appropriate for normal operating situations; application of the method is then especially simple.

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