Section XI of the ASME Code allows the users to conduct flaw evaluation analyses by using limit-load equations with a simple correction factor to account elastic-plastic fracture conditions. This correction factor is called a Z-factor, and is simply the ratio of the limit-load to elastic-plastic fracture mechanics (EPFM) maximum-load predictions for a flaw in a pipe. The past ASME Section XI Z-factors were based on a circumferential through-wall crack in a pipe rather than a surface crack. Past analyses and pipe tests with circumferential through-wall cracks in monolithic welds showed that the simplified EPFM analyses (called J-estimation schemes) could give good predictions by using the toughness, i.e., J-R curve, of the weld metal and the strength of the base metal. The determination of the Z-factor for a dissimilar metal weld (DMW) is more complicated because of the different strength base metals on either side of the weld. This strength difference can affect the maximum load-carrying capacity of the flawed pipe by more than the weld toughness. Recent work by the authors for circumferential through-wall cracks in DMWs has shown that an equivalent stress-strain curve is needed in order for the typical J-estimation schemes to correctly predict the load carrying capacity in a cracked DMW. In this paper, the Z-factors for circumferential surface cracks in DMW were determined. For this purpose, a material property correction factor was determined by comparing the crack driving force calculated from the J-estimation schemes to detailed finite element (FE) analyses. The effect of crack size and pipe geometry on the material correction factor was investigated. Using the determined crack-driving force and the appropriate toughness of the weld metal, the Z-factors were calculated for various crack sizes and pipe geometries. In these calculations, a ‘reference’ limit-load was determined by using the lower strength base metal flow stress. Furthermore, the effect of J-R curve on the Z-factor was investigated. Finally, the Z-factors developed in the present work were compared to those developed earlier for through-wall cracks in DMWs.

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