The crack-tip stress fields and fracture mechanics assessment parameters, such as the elastic stress intensity factor and the elastic-plastic J-integral, for a surface crack can be significantly affected by adjacent cracks. Such a defect interaction effect due to multiple cracks can magnify the fracture mechanics assessment parameters. There are many factors to be considered, for instance the relative distance between adjacent cracks, crack shape and loading condition, to quantify a defect interaction effect on the fracture mechanics assessment parameters. Thus, the current guidance on a defect interaction effect (defect combination rule), including ASME Sec. XI, BS7910, British Energy R6 and API RP579, provide different rules for combining multiple surface cracks into a single surface crack. The present paper investigates a defect interaction effect by evaluating the elastic stress intensity factor of adjacent surface cracks in a plate along the crack front through detailed 3-dimensional elastic finite element analyses. The effects of the geometric parameters, the relative distance between cracks and the crack shape, on the stress intensity factor are systematically investigated. As for the loading condition, only axial tension is considered. Based on the elastic finite element results, the acceptability of the defect combination rules provided in the existing guidance was investigated, and the relevant recommendations on a defect interaction for in-plane surface cracks in a plate were discussed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.