This study extends a micromechanics approach based upon the computational cell methodology to model ductile crack extension of longitudinal crack-like defects in a high strength pipeline steel. Laboratory testing of an API 5L X60 steel at room temperature using standard, deep crack C(T) specimens provide the data needed to measure the crack growth resistance curve for the material. In the computational cell model, ductile crack extension occurs through void growth and coalescence (by cell extinction) within a thin layer of material ahead of crack tip. A simple scheme to calibrate material-specific parameters for the cells is also described. A central focus of the paper is the application of the cell methodology to predict experimentally measured burst pressures for pre-cracked pipe specimens with different crack sizes. The experimental program includes longitudinally precracked 20” (508 mm) O.D. pipe specimens with 15.8 mm thickness containing an internal crack with notch depth (a) and notch length (2c) 7 × 140 mm. Large-scale, full 3-D computations are conducted on detailed finite element models for the pipe specimens to describe crack extension with increased pressure. The numerical simulations demonstrate the effectiveness of the cell approach to describe crack growth response and to predict the burst pressure for the tested pipes.

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